Hundreds of protesters have gathered in the sweltering heat outside Brisbane’s Lady Cilento Children’s Hospital in support of doctors and staff who are refusing to release a baby in a bid to prevent her from being sent back to immigration detention on Nauru.
The one-year-old girl, known as Asha, was flown to the hospital after being badly burnt when boiling water was accidentally spilled on her while in detention on the island.
According to 9News.com.au, the infant – who reportedly became the first baby born into detention in Australia to be transferred to Nauru – is now in a stable condition and her wounds have healed.
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However, in a statement released on Friday, a hospital spokesman said the 12-month-old would not be discharged until a “suitable home environment is identified”.
“All decisions relating to a patient’s treatment and discharge are made by qualified clinical staff, based on a thorough assessment of the individual patient’s clinical condition and circumstances, and with the goal of delivering the best outcome,” the statement read.
Doctors for Refugees spokesman Dr Richard Kidd told 9News the medical staff protecting Asha were standing by their Hippocratic Oath to look after their patients’ wellbeing, quote, “in this case, that means not releasing babies and children in environments where we know they will be harmed”.
A group of 50 protesters had gathered outside the hospital on Friday night in support of the Doctor’s decision, but by midday Saturday, that number had tripled, with hundreds of locals of all ages turning up to back the hospital.
Many of them stood in the 34 degree heat armed with #LetThemStay posters and banners calling for the closure of detention centres on Manus and Nauru.