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Australian hospital discharges asylum seeker infant, into more controversy

BMJ 2016; 352 doi: https://doi.org/10.1136/bmj.i1182 (Published 25 February 2016) Cite this as: BMJ 2016;352:i1182
  1. Michael Woodhead
  1. Sydney

After a tense 10 day standoff between doctors and immigration authorities, a Brisbane hospital has discharged a 12 month old baby after reassurances were given by authorities that she would not be immediately sent back to a detention centre on the Pacific island of Nauru.

In what has become known as the Baby Asha case, doctors at the Lady Cilento Hospital refused to discharge the infant, who had been treated in the burns unit. They believed it to be unethical to allow the infant to be returned to an “unsafe” offshore detention environment where most children show signs of mental trauma and are exposed to violence and abuse.

It was feared that the immigration department would send in security guards to forcibly remove the child from the hospital, and a large group of supporters maintained a week long vigil outside the hospital.

On Sunday 22 February it was …

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