4 Mar 2019

Nauru defends treatment of refugee who self-immolated

5:57 pm on 4 March 2019

Nauru's government has defended its treatment of a refugee evacuated from Nauru, amid an Australian probe into his death.

Omid Masoumali

Omid Masoumali Photo: Supplied

An Australian coroner began an inquest last week into the death of Omid Masoumali, who set himself on fire in April 2016.

The inquest focused on why it took 31 hours to medically evacuate him to a hospital in Brisbane, where he died from multiple organ failure.

The coroner heard Mr Masoumali had no chance in Nauru but almost certainly would have survived if he reached an Australian hospital sooner.

But in a statement, Nauru's government said medical staff on-island "acted properly, immediately and with great care and professionalism".

The statement said Mr Masoumali's wife, Pari, was busy filming the incident, and that those close to him made treatment more difficult.

It said evidence given by Ms Masoumali at the inquest was incorrect but did not clarify which evidence.

The inquest heard from a burns specialist, Jason Miller, who treated the 24-year-old refugee in Australia before he died of organ failure.

The Guardian reports Dr Miller testified that Mr Masoumali would have had up to a 95 percent chance of survival had he received prompt treatment in Australia.

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