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The Pregnant Refugee With A Life-Threatening Illness Will Finally Be Brought To Australia, Says Nauru

She is expected to be brought to Australia today, according to the Nauruan government.

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A heavily pregnant asylum-seeker held in detention on Nauru who is suffering from preeclampsia and other complications will be airlifted to Australia for medical attention on Friday, according to the Nauruan government.

Reuters Photographer / Reuters

The decision comes several days after doctors said 37-year-old Kuwaiti refugee Dee* was in a critical condition and needed to be flown to Australia for an emergency C-section.

Doctors have diagnosed Dee with the potentially life-threatening condition of preeclampsia. Her baby is also currently in a breech, or feet first, position and she has a large fibroid, or benign tumour, on the wall of her uterus.

Doctors for Refugees have been calling for Dee to be urgently evacuated to Australia, saying the Nauru medical centre does not have the staff or equipment to perform the high risk delivery.

In a statement late on Thursday, the Nauru Health Department said Dee would be airlifted to Australia, likely on Friday.

"Nauru has no control over decisions by Australia on who to transfer," the statement, issued at 10.45pm AEDT, said.

"Within the last 30 minutes we have received confirmation from Australia that the patient will be airlifted and this is expected to happen tomorrow."

The statement also criticised media reports about Dee's situation, saying claims about her health were made by people "not aware of the facts".

"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 post-natal care," the statement said.

"We will always recommend treatment in accordance with the best interest of the patient and will not hesitate to recommend a medical evacuation if the situation requires."

Ian Rintoul from the Refugee Action Coalition said that as of last night, Dee was still in hospital in Nauru.

He told BuzzFeed News it was "very good news" that she was going to be airlifted, but slammed the Australian government for "playing fast and loose" with Dee's health.

"What they have put Dee through is simply unforgivable," he said.

"Why would they have taken a risk with a dangerous pregnancy like this? Why would they have delayed and delayed? Until last night there was no indication she was going to be airlifted."

"This is what happens when politics overtakes the medical needs of people."

BuzzFeed News has asked the Australian Immigration Department for comment.

*Not her real name.


The Nauruan government tweeted that Dee had been airlifted from Nauru at 1.47pm Nauru time.

"We wish mum and bub the very best," the tweet said.

Lane Sainty is a reporter for BuzzFeed News and is based in Sydney, Australia.

Contact Lane Sainty at

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