Pregnant, sick asylum seeker arrives in Australia from Nauru for medical care

The plane can be seen on the tarmac before it departed Nauru. Source: SBS News

A mum-to-be asylum seeker on Nauru has arrived in Australia after doctors urged for more than a week that she receive proper medical treatment here.

A 37-year-old pregnant Kuwaiti asylum seeker who doctors have diagnosed with preeclampsia has arrived in Australia for medical treatment.

She is in her third trimester.

In a statment issued to SBS on Saturday, a spokesperson from the Department of Immigration and Border Protection said the department could confirm that "an individual was transferred from Nauru to Australia" on Friday.

The spokesperson said it would not be appropriate for the department to provide any specific details about "the health of individuals".

On Thursday night, Nauru’s government tweeted: "We have received confirmation from Australia that the patient will be airlifted. Expected tomorrow (Friday)”.

“Nauru has no control over decisions by Aust on who to transfer & did not stop transfer. Nauru approved transfer the moment request was made,” the government said in a second tweet.

Earlier this week five independent doctors diagnosed her with preeclampsia, a condition that if left untreated can result in serious complications for both mother and baby, and urged that she be flown to Australia for medical treatment.

Pre-eclampsia involves high blood pressure, swelling and protein in the urine.

When it occurs in Australia, the woman is brought in as an inpatient for regular monitoring of her blood pressure. She receives blood tests, and the protein levels in her urine are checked once or twice a day.

She may receive blood pressure medications and her fetus is monitored almost around the clock.

Doctors for Refugees president Dr Barri Phatarfod said earlier in the week that she was concerned medical services on Nauru could not sufficiently treat the woman.

"None of these facilities are available on Nauru," Dr Phatarfod told SBS on Tuesday.

On Thursday, the Nauruan government claimed media reports citing claims its facilities could not sufficiently deal with the complex pregnancy were untrue.

"All pregnancies on Nauru are treated with due diligence and care by both Nauruan medical staff and partner health service providers," the department said in a statement.

“Both mother and baby continue to be monitored by skilled and professional medical staff, who have extensive experience in the delivery of babies and pre- and postnatal care."

Stay up to date with SBS NEWS

  • App
  • Subscribe
  • Follow
  • Listen
  • Watch