4 Sep 2014

Manus asylum seeker declared brain dead

8:46 am on 4 September 2014

A refugee advocate in Australia says a 24-year-old asylum seeker who was evacuated from Australia's detention centre on Manus Island in Papua New Guinea last week has been declared 'brain dead'.

Hamid Kehazaei was medivacced from Manus Island to Brisbane last Wednesday suffering from septicaemia caused by an infection that spread from a cut in his foot.

The Refugee Action Coalition's Ian Rintoul says he understands a decision will soon be made about whether to switch off life support, which would make Mr Kehazaei the second person from Manus to die this year.

"To be blunt, it's simply a matter of time. The hospital's indicated that they will appoint a guardian who will make a decision about how long life support will continue. Both deaths really fall at the responsibility of the Australian government."

Ian Rintoul says sanitary conditions and the quality of medical care at the Australian-run detention centre are shocking.

Meanwhile, the former director of mental health services at Manus Island has called for an independent investigation into Mr Kehazaei's condition.

Peter Young from International Health and Mental Services told the Sydney Morning Herald he was not aware of the circumstances in this case, but logistical and bureaucratic delays in providing care were "part and parcel" of holding people in such remote locations.

Dr Young says he did not consider the chief medical officer of the department, Paul Douglas, to be independent as Mr Douglas had previously accused health service providers of being risk-averse.

Asylum Seekers at the Manus Island detention centre have signed a letter blaming the centre's healthcare provider for the situation that led to Mr Kehazaei lying brain dead in a Brisbane hospital.