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An Australian hospital is refusing to release an asylum seeker toddler who is being treated for burns suffered while in detention on Nauru, until a “suitable” home is found.

A spokesperson from Lady Cilento Children’s Hospital in Brisbane confirmed to the Sydney Morning Herald that it was treating a 12-month-old girl from Nauru.  A statement delivered by the Spokesperson said that the hospital, “will only be discharged once a suitable home environment is identified.”  

The statement continued, “The family remains very scared they will be secretly snatched from the hospital and returned to detention this weekend.  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.”

In a recent interview with Sydney Morning Herald, Shen Narayansamy, the Human Rights Director for Getup, said the child’s mother “feels safer now that the doctors are trying to protect her child from the clearly abusive conditions Asha [a pseudonym] faces upon return to detention”.

Shen continued saying, “the Australian Border Force has overruled decisions of medical experts in the past, so the family remains very scared they will be secretly snatched from the hospital and returned to detention this weekend”.

“The hospital’s stance “sends a loud message to the government that child abuse is unjustifiable, under any circumstances.  All this mother wants is for her baby to be safe, and unfortunately at the moment nobody can promise her that,” she said.

“[The mother] said that after the way the family has been treated in the past, every time the door opens in their room, her heart starts racing and she becomes terrified.”

The child has been recovering from accidental burns injuries sustained at Nauru.  The Department of Immigration and Border Protection, which includes the Australian Border Force, has not commented on the situation.


Image source: Getty Images

  • yeah this is sad. who knows what it is like for these people.

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  • It is great that the hospital is keeping this poor baby safe. I do hope the government have a serious rethink of their policies.

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  • its so sad and terrible why is happening.

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  • Its terrible what is happening to these poor children

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  • I hope the government really makes the right decision and keeps thus poor baby and her family off Naru.

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  • I’m so glad the hospital is keeping the baby safe

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  • For a baby to find itself in a detention centre in the first place will have a tragic back story in itself. The care delivered at Lady Cilantro hospital is wonderful. I only hope this bub can stay put until a suitable long term solution can be found.

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  • The way detention is being managed is just immoral.

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  • We, the public, are not being told very much about what’s going on in detention centres.


    • I agree, there seems to be little transparency.

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  • In proven domestic violence cases against on injured children, sometimes the Welfare Dept. will not release the child to the parents and at least temporarily either keep them in hospital or find alternative care for them, even if it is only temporary. When a child with burns goes home, their parents have to keep them isolated in one room and take very strict precautions against the child getting an infection. I can’t see any reference to when the child was admitted to hospital. I don’t think they child will be released from hospital in less than a fortnight. I very much doubt they had access to treatment within 5 minutes of it happening.

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  • So very tragic.
    Every mother only wants the best for their children.

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  • It will be interesting to how this plays out – would they do the same for an aboriginal or domestic violence case?

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  • Lke ku

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  • Burns are awful and painful – poor child.

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