Today, another harrowing personal story has highlighted one of the many cruelly damaging aspects of Australia’s offshore processing/detention policy.
A Rohingya man who has been on Nauru for years – even though his wife and baby have been transferred to Australia – was reported as being unable to be transferred to Australia because his health situation was TOO SEVERE.
The federal government’s policy is that anyone who is transferred to Australia for medical assistance MUST be returned to the offshore location. But the seriousness of this man’s physical and mental health indicates that he would not be fit to be sent BACK to Nauru if he was moved to Australia. So he remains as a “medical emergency” even though the medical contractors (IHMS) employed on the island by the Australian government stated that a “recommendation for tertiary offshore care remains in place”. The following excerpts are from redacted IHMS case notes published by the Guardian:
“Mental state continues to deteriorate, low frustration tolerance, continued pain, intermittent compliance with medications. Crying requesting to go home. Risk of harm continues to escalate. … Due to his current mental state he appears not to understand his current situation.”
“There is not enough space, equipment or staff to provide effective medical care … absolutely requires surgery, is not able to weight bear and remains in pain.
“his persistent confusional state, most likely represents a type of non-convulsive epilepsy. This is a high-risk situation … risks are of brain damage occurring as a result of ongoing seizures, and also harm or death as a result of behaviour occurring during or after seizure activity causing confusion.”
It is also reported that the man has made numerous attempts to kill himself.
The Nauru hospital’s Overseas Medical Referral panel has twice approved the man for transfer to Australia for treatment. The final decision rests with the Australian Border Force, which retains ultimate control over the offshore immigration regime but a spokesperson for the ABF told the Guardian that:
“Healthcare in Nauru is the responsibility of the government of Nauru. Decisions about medical transfers of refugees are made on a case by case basis, under the government of Nauru-managed overseas medical referral program.”
To tell the government of your expectation that the ABF immediately approve the transfer of ‘Zamal’ from Nauru to the health services he needs in Australia,