“Tell him to write a will” was the reaction of the Australian government when doctors requested an emergency transfer to an Australian hospital for a seriously ill Afghan asylum seeker.
He has written a will, requesting that if he dies, the Australian government care for his children and provide them with an education.
Doctors have expressed extreme concern for “Abdullah”, a single father of two teenagers trapped on Nauru with an urgent heart condition requiring airlift to Australia. His case has not been classed as an emergency.
Dr Clare Arnott from Doctors for Refugees said he is suffering from an unstable coronary syndrome and needs to receive urgent specialist treatment.
“This man has evidence of a recent cardiac event with ongoing chest pain and I have concerns for his clinical condition. Someone with an untreated acute coronary syndrome is at risk of myocardial infarction, arrhythmia and even sudden death,” she said.
“In any Australian tertiary hospital he would be taken to emergency and admitted immediately, and would receive a cardiac angiogram within 24 hours.”
An angiogram — an X-ray of the heart to determine if the coronary arteries are blocked or narrowed, and which helps a doctor to determine whether angioplasty, a stent or coronary artery bypass surgery is required — is not available on the island. His medical files show that Nauru doctors advised “urgent overseas referral”.
Abdullah said two weeks ago he signed two documents to say he would be willing to be evacuated to Papua New Guinea or Australia for treatment. He also claims he was told his sons could go with him. But he has not heard anything more since then.
Natasha Blucher, an advocate for the Darwin Asylum Seeker Support and Advocacy Network (DASSAN), said the Department of Immigration and Border Protection recently confirmed that they have approved a medical transfer for Abdullah to receive treatment, however he reported that he has still heard nothing.
“He tells me he still has chest pain and is feeling weak,” Blucher said. “He has run out of drinking water and is unable to travel to get more, nor does he feel it is safe to send his young sons alone. Service providers have said they will not provide him with safe drinking water. The systems are quite simply not working.
“According to the doctors, the man needs urgent treatment for a serious heart condition. He’s got to look after two kids, who are not coping well with life in Nauru. They need to be brought to Australia as a matter of urgency.
“Talking to him, it’s evident his only concern is being alive to protect and care for his boys.”
Abdullah said when he and his family first arrived on Christmas Island he “thought it was a chance to start a new life.
“I told my kids: ‘We have come from darkness to light and we have left ignorance. We can get educated’.
“I wish that my sons can get a good education, live in a good house and live like humans, just like others live. I wish my children could live like other children.”