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Doctors Call For Pregnant Refugee In Nauru To Be 'Urgently' Flown To Australia

Doctors are in discussions with the Immigration Department, after diagnosing the woman with preeclampsia.

31/01/2017 1:32 PM AEDT | Updated 01/02/2017 8:40 AM AEDT
Fairfax
Doctors first contacted the Department of Immigration and Border Protection in December.

Doctors are calling for a pregnant refugee on Nauru to be flown to Australia after the woman, who is 37 weeks pregnant, was diagnosed with preeclampsia.

Five independent doctors have diagnosed the woman with the potentially life-threatening condition which causes high blood pressure, fluid retention and protein in the urine. This can lead to eclampsia which causes seizures and can be fatal to both the mother and baby.

Discussions have been held between Doctors For Refugees and the Immigration Department about having the woman flown to Australia, however there has not been any action taken yet.

Doctors For Refugees president Dr Barri Phatarfod told The Huffington Post Australia her colleague Dr David Berger recently spoke with the Immigration Department's chief medical officer Dr John Brayley.

Health authorities first contacted the department about the refugee's condition in December, with Phatarfod claiming "it's taking too long".

Anyone in a situation where they are 36 weeks pregnant with high blood pressure should be treated as an urgent situation.Dr Barri Phatarford

Phatarfod said women in rural and regional areas in Australia are transported to town or city hospitals for preeclampsia treatment. The condition "requires monitoring around the clock" with regular blood pressure and urine checks alongside CTG monitoring.

"We know that none of this happens in Nauru... there is an unacceptable delay to obtain even routine pathology results," Phatarfod told The Huffington Post Australia.

"Anyone in a situation where they are 36 weeks pregnant with high blood pressure should be treated as an urgent situation."

A spokeswoman from the Department of Immigration and Border Protection said the department does not comment on individual cases.

"Australia provides comprehensive medical support services to the regional processing centre in Nauru and to the Nauruan Government Health Facilities," the spokeswoman said.

In May, Somalian woman Naima Ahmed was flown to Australia in a critical condition after suffering a preeclamptic fit and having an emergency caesarean. Refugee advocates claimed the Department had known about the 22-year-old's deteriorating health condition for months.

"These comprehensive medical services were in place last year when the Department was urged to bring her to Australia for monitoring, but they dug their heels in," Phatarfod said.



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