Asylum seeker death ‘preventable’

A Queensland Coroner investigating the death of an Iranian asylum seeker has ruled he would still be alive if he had received proper medical care.

Hamid Khazaei died in Brisbane’s Mater Hospital in September 2014 after developing an infection in a leg ulcer while being held at the Manus Island Detention Centre.

The Centre’s medical facility didn’t have the proper antibiotics to treat his infection and staff didn’t recognise when his condition deteriorated.


There were also delays transferring him to hospital in Port Moresby where he later suffered a cardiac arrest.

By the time he was eventually transferred to hospital in Brisbane Mr Khazaei was declared brain dead.

Coroner Terry Ryan ruled that the care given to Mr Khazaei was inadequate and his death was preventable.

“I am satisfied that if Mr Khazaei’s clinical deterioration was recognised and responded to in a timely way at the clinic, and he was evacuated to Australia within 24 hours of developing severe sepsis, he would have survived.”

Coroner Ryan has made a number of recommendations, including that the Home Affairs Department put the clinical needs of detainees first if they need medical transfers.

He says similar incidents could be prevented in the future if detainees were brought to Australia or New Zealand where they would receive quality healthcare.

The Home Affairs Department says it was reviewing the Coroner’s findings and expressed its condolences to Mr Khazaei’s family.