Australian doctor and lawyer say man on Manus at risk of another heart attack not being treated, claim negligence

A video has been obtained by ASRC which shows Manus man Samuel (not his real name), in a transit facility trying to explain to a guard on 13 November 2017 that he has a heart condition and needs medical assistance, while the guard replies that transport is not available.

Samuel had a heart attack in Papua New Guinea in February this year. He collapsed on 5 November in the RPC and was ferried back and forth from a clinic on Manus Island.

He was refused medical treatment until he was forced to move to Hillside Haus on Tuesday 7 November.

Samuel requested medical assistance for heart pain on Sunday morning 12 November which was not provided. After being refused transport to IHMS on 13 November, he was handed a form to request medical assistance for his heart pain.

Australian doctor Paddy McLisky, from Australian group Doctors for Refugees, has been in continuous contact with Samuel due to his symptoms, including when he collapsed at the Manus RPC on 5 November.

Dr McLisky said, ‘several doctors working in the immigration detention system, including a visiting cardiologist have recommended various tests to elicit the cause of Samuel’s recurrent symptoms of varying severity of chest pain, collapse and palpitations or tachycardia.’

‘I am really worried because he had a myocardial infarction or heart attack in February and injured his heart muscle, this we do know.’

‘In my opinion the most important test for Samuel is Electro physiological study which will determine if he has a short circuit in his heart, and if it can be fixed by ablation treatment, both of which are not available in PNG,’ Dr McLisky said.

When Samuel collapsed with heart pain on 5 November 2017, there was no ECG machine in Lorengau Hospital and no capacity to do a blood test.

‘I have never seen nor heard of a hospital without capacity for blood tests nor access to ECG machine’ Dr McLisky said.

Simon Bruck from the Refugee Advice and Casework Service (RACS) is the lawyer representing Samuel.

Simon said, ‘A cardiologist advised more than 6 months ago that my client needs tests overseas, as the tests he needs are not available in PNG.

‘Because he is not the getting medical tests he needs, my client is afraid the next heart attack could kill him.’

‘RACS has had a number of clients that have not received the medical attention they need on Manus and Nauru, and we hold grave concerns for the health of those clients.’

‘Australian Border Force is denying appropriate medical care to a number of our clients. In our legal opinion, denial of medical treatment amounts to negligence,’ Simon said.

ASRC Detention Advocacy Manager Natasha Blucher case manages Samuel.

‘I call on the Turnbull Government to evacuate him now to Australia for urgent medical intervention to save his life,’ Natasha said.

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