Australia's Asylum Seeker Policy Blamed for Iranian Refugee's 'Brain Dead' Condition

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By Reissa Su | September 5, 2014 9:58 AM EST

Australia's asylum seeker policy is once again under scrutiny following the news of an asylum seeker who was declared "brain dead" and under critical condition. The mother of the "brain dead" asylum seeker from Australia-run detention centre in Manus Island spoke of her anguish while her son is currently on life support at Mater Hospital in Brisbane. According to a Guardian report, the mother of Hamid Kehazaei, a 24-year-old Iranian refugee, described him as a "sensitive, harmless and lovable."

Reuters
Asylum seekers from Afghanistan, Iraq and Iran cry as Indonesian officers force them to leave the Australian vessel Hermia docked at Indah Kiat port in Merak, Indonesia's Banten province in this April 9, 2012 file photo.

The asylum seeker had a cellulitis infection from a foot injury on Manus Island. Kehazaei arrived from the island last Sept. 3. Goldone Kehazaei told the Guardian that she has not heard the sound of her son's voice since he was diagnosed.

Other asylum seekers who were in the same detention centre as the Iranian refugee wrote to the International Health and Medical Services (IHMS) and accused it of delaying the treatment of Kehazaei's infection.

Dr Peter Young, IHMS former director of mental health services, said the delays were no longer a surprise since they were usually blamed on the remoteness of the location. He revealed the IHMS were always advised to "take more medical risks" when caring for asylum seekers in Australia's offshore processing centres.

Goldone said her son often complained of the "poor" conditions on Manus including the lack of treatment from medical staff. Her son described the facility on the island as "dirty and unhygienic." He went on to tell her about suffering a toothache for two or three days because the medical staff did not give him medicine.

 Kehazaei also told her mother about feeling pain in his legs which was believed to be the source of the infection. Doctors told him the pain may be due to the humid conditions inside the detention centre.

According to Goldone, doctors told her the infection was caused by the poor conditions on Mannus Island. She was advised by doctors to consider the amputation of her son's leg.

Meanwhile, Admiral Chris Barrie, who served under the Howard government as defence force chief, slammed the Abbott government for its asylum seeker policy. He called detention centres for asylum seekers as "jails." He criticised Immigration Minister Scott Morrison for policies he enacted that Barrie thinks does not do any good for Australia's reputation. 

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(Photo: Reuters / Aulia Pratama)
Asylum seekers from Afghanistan, Iraq and Iran cry as Indonesian officers force them to leave the Australian vessel Hermia docked at Indah Kiat port in Merak, Indonesia's Banten province in this April 9, 2012 file photo.
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