The needless death of Hamid Khazaei

Last nights episode of Four Corners centred on the case of a Manus Island detainee, Hamid Khazaei, who died following a bacterial infection in 2014.

GEOFF THOMPSON (voiceover): What started as a small skin infection on his leg is now poisoning his body.

Within 10 hours he will have three heart attacks. Within 20 hours his brain will be as good as dead.

The program is a damning indictment of the casual neglect, inefficiency  and bureaucratic meddling in the system that provides health care for the detainees on Nauru and Manus Island. The senior doctors who have chosen to speak out painted a damning picture of events leading up to the death of Hamid Khazaei.


AMA President Brian Owler was one of the number of senior doctors to speak out

The end of the program, Scott Morrison who was Immigration Minister at the time, makes a statement which, given the events related the program, indicates he was either misleading the public or dangerously mis-informed by his department

SCOTT MORRISON, IMMIGRATION MINISTER 2013-2014 (5 Sep. 2014): I can confirm that an… at an adult male transferee from the Manus offshore processing centre was transferred for urgent medical care to Port Moresby and subsequently transferred to the Australian mainland and, as you know, would, would- is here in Brisbane.

GEOFF THOMPSON: On the morning of September the 5th, Hamid Khazaei is still technically alive.

Scott Morrison later fronts the media again.

SCOTT MORRISON (5 Sep. 2014): Um, when someone becomes ill they receive outstanding care from the people, um, who work as part of our, ah, mainland detention network and in the offshore processing centres that are under the management of the governments of Papua New Guinea and Nauru.

Ah, IHMS who work as part of that team there do an out-outstanding job.

Our focus and care, eh, has been on this young man, ah, from the moment he presented to medical officers at Manus Island and on focusing on the interests and engaging with the family. That’s where our attention has been. And, ah, that young man, um, is- is still with us, but his condition, as you know, is extremely, extremely parlous.”

There will be a Coronal Inquest into the matter and it is to be hoped that the role of Canberra bureaucrats and medical officers on Manus Island in this appalling event will be thoroughly exposed.

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