Manus Island asylum seeker 'brain dead' says advocate
A refugee advocate says an asylum seeker from Manus Island who has been declared brain dead may be the second person from the camp to die in a year.
A refugee advocate in Australia says a 24-year-old asylum seeker who was evacuated from Australia's detention centre on Manus Island in Papua New Guinea last week has been declared 'brain dead'.
Hamid Kehazaei was medivaced from Manus Island to Brisbane last Wednesday suffering from septicaemia caused by an infection that spread from a cut in his foot.
The Refugee Action Coalition's Ian Rintoul says he understands a decision will soon be made about whether to switch off life support, which would make Mr Kehazaei the second person from Manus to die this year.
IAN RINTOUL: There was a video link with Immigration, the hospital, the family yesterday afternoon where they confirmed that Hamid was brain dead. There had been information for a little while, a little concern that was brain dead because there had been a family friend that was visiting. But it was confirmed in the video conference yesterday afternoon.
JAMIE TAHANA: So he's on life support, brain dead, chances don't look good then?
IR: No look, to be blunt, it's simply a matter of time. The hospital has indicated they will appoint a guardian who will make a decision about how long life support will continue.
JT: And what happened to lead up to this point, at Manus, that lead to him being medivaced?
IR: Some of the details aren't precisely known but he cut his foot, he got infected, he was unable to attention for it, it got worse, he complained about pain in his leg which was obviously associated with the spreading infection. But by the time he got any medical attention, he almost had to be supported to walk. So he was urgently medivaced from Manus last Wednesday to Brisbane.
JT: And it turned out he had septicaemia?
IR: Yes he was placed directly in intensive care in Brisbane with septicaemia and then... I'm not exactly sure, but it was about two or three days ago that he had a heart attack that was associated with the septicaemia, and as a consequence of that heart attack, he was declared brain dead.
JT: Have Immigration or Scott Morrison's office or the hospital said anything regarding this person?
IR: No as far as I know, the Immigration Department has only officially said that he's not dead. Whether they will now respons to the press release and other media inquiries, we'll see. But there's simply no doubt - we've spoken to the family, to the family friend - that he is brain dead and Manus Island has effectively been placed on high alert. The people on Manus Island know very well what has happened. They've already issued a statement, written on IHMS (International Health and Medical Services) letterhead, saying that they believe IHMS and the lack of medical care on Manus Island is responsible for the death of their friend.
JT: And nine months, possibly two deaths on Manus Island, various inquiries. There have been a lot of complaints about the lack of medical care at the centre, what do you make of it as a refugee advocate?
IR: Manus Island is just totally unfit. It simply beggars belief that an Australian government, a first-world government, would maintain a facility where people walk in untreated sewerage. It has water shortages - there aren't showers; it goes in water for the toilets. There are constant infections and skin diseases. There are scores of people coming off Manus Island for medical treatment in Australia. It is just mind-boggling that the government persists with maintaining such a place. There are two dead, and with both deaths the responsibility really falls with the Australian Immigration Department.
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