This report quotes a transcript
from the Australian Broadcasting Corporation program Lateline.
It was broadcast on May 6 2003
Three senior Australian
doctors have launched medical negligence complaints against Australasian
Correctional Management (ACM) over its treatment of two former detainees
in Villawood Detention Centre. The doctors say the two complaints about
inadequate medical care are the tip of the iceberg.
The complaint was lodged by
"some of Australia's most respected medical practitioners" - Dr
Louise Newman, national spokesperson for the Royal Australasian College of
Psychiatrists; Dr Michael Dudley, chairman of Suicide Prevention
Australia; and Dr Bijou Blick, a paediatric medical officer.
Dr Newman said "there
are longstanding concerns about inadequate provision of care,
neglect" including "appalling medical treatment."
The first complaint is about
a young Thai prostitute and heroin addict Puongtong Simaplee, who
allegedly survived sex slavery and child prostitution only to die in
Villawood in 2001. The coroner of New South Wales found her treatment was
inadequate and inappropriate, she was given the wrong drug for heroin
withdrawal, and that experts believe she may have lived if she'd
been taken to hospital.
Dr Dudley said, " She
was actually vomiting into a bucket and using the same bucket for
toiletries. And it was only when, in fact, she actually missed the bucket
on the final occasion that someone went to check it out and found out she
was dead." It sounds like "care" was non-existent.
A young Iranian mother was
discovered in Villawood by Drs Newman and Blick with "extreme
postnatal depression, dehydration, fever and a severe
infection." She was only able to get to hospital because of
their intervention. There were "numerous psychiatric reports"
recommending she and the baby be released from detention, including
recommendations from the state Child Protection Agency. Nothing
happened until further action by the state public guardian. Under a
government where this sort of thing is happening it is frightening to find
the government trying to limit the powers of
the Human Rights Commission!
The doctors claim her case
is typical of the way expert medical reports are routinely ignored....
They also claim some current detainees are still being denied
appropriate medical treatment.
It is this government of
whom the Middle
East Times reported in 2001
If he was handcuffed to an
armed guard, Iraqi doctor Aamer Sultan might have been permitted to
receive his human rights award in Sydney, Australia. But on the day he
was awarded the Human Rights Equal Opportunities Australia Highly
Commended certificate, Dr. Sultan remained imprisoned behind multiple
barbed wire fences in the bleak detention centre of Villawood, tucked
away behind an industrial estate on the outskirts of Australia's largest
From an Amnesty
International submission to the Human Rights Commission:
identified and studied the effects of what he has called immigration
detention stress syndrome (IDSS), and is completing research which he
will submit to the Medical Journal of Australia. The research details
the stages of an illness, which leads to an almost catatonic depressive
state, suffered by some detainees (including himself, claims Dr Sultan).
Some of these individuals, claim solicitor Jaqueline Everett, are
children. The account and the effects of Dr Sultans syndrome on
detainees was published in the British Medical magazine, the Lancet in
an article co-authored by Australian clinical psychologist Zachary