14 Feb 2016

Brisbane hospital refuses to release badly burnt Nauru baby

6:42 am on 14 February 2016

Doctors at a Brisbane hospital have refused to release a one-year-old girl, badly burnt on Nauru, until a "suitable home environment is identified".

The girl was injured when boiling water was accidentally spilt inside the tent she was living in with her parents.

She was flown to Brisbane and admitted to Lady Cilento Hospital.

In a statement on Friday, a hospital spokesman said the baby would not be discharged until a "suitable home environment is identified, as is the case with every child who presents at hospital".

"All decisions relating to a patient's treatment and discharge are made by qualified clinical staff, based on a thorough assessment of the individual patient's clinical condition and circumstances, and with the goal of delivering the best outcome," the statement read.

It is understood the baby's injuries are healing well and her condition is now listed as stable.

The girl's parents are both in Brisbane and have been visiting her daily. All three are due to be sent back to Nauru.

Protesters have been maintaining a vigil outside the South Brisbane hospital since Friday night in support of the doctors.

Refugee Action Collective's Mark Gillespie previously said Asha's parents were terrified at the prospect of being returned to Nauru.

Doctors for Refugees spokesman Richard Kidd today said the doctors and nurses involved were distressed by the situation.

"There's overwhelming evidence that babies and children being put into detention does them great harm," he said.

"So for doctors and nurses we just can't send children from hospital into a place where we know they're going to be harmed."

Queensland Lawyers for Human Rights spokesman Benedict Coyne said the government should intervene.

"Clearly there's a loud message from the Australian public and the community and it's really up to the Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull and Immigration Minister [Peter] Dutton to open their ears, the eyes and their hearts to this message that Australian people want clear and concerted efforts to change the border protection policy," Mr Coyne said.

Greens Senator Sarah Hanson-Young praised the actions of doctors and nurses involved in the case.

"Of course they risk their own careers in this because the government doesn't like anyone speaking out of turn on this issue," she said.

"Doctors and nurses involved in the care of this child are risking two years jail for standing up for the rights and for the medical profession to be able to stand by their ethics."

Father Nicholas Whereat from the Anglican Church said his parish was willing to support the family if they were allowed to stay.

"We're here to say that young Asha is a child who needs to be embraced and needs to be cared for," he said.

Labor MP heckled by protesters

Labor MP Terri Butler address the crowd but was heckled by some who yelled out anti-Labor slogans.

"It's the Liberals who are actually running these places right now who are failing to provide safe processing for refugees and asylum seekers," she said.

"If you want to make this about me when I want to make it about baby Asha, then I think you should be ashamed of yourself.

"But look, let me tell you what I think. Firstly I believe Malcolm Turnbull can make a decision right now, can show some leadership right now and actually keep baby Asha here.

"Wow, you must be so proud of yourself to be able to yell at me, how wonderful."

Ellen Roberts from GetUp stayed with a small group of protesters at the hospital entrance overnight.

"What we're seeing here is a state institution effectively offering sanctuary against the Federal Government's extreme immigration policies," she said.

"Health professionals know that detention is no place for children."

Mr Dutton has declined to comment on the case.

- ABC