Journal of Bioethical Inquiry

, Volume 15, Issue 1, pp 39–44 | Cite as

The Ethics of Discharging Asylum Seekers to Harm: A Case From Australia

  • Ryan Essex
  • David Isaacs
Critical Perspectives


In February 2016 a twelve-month-old asylum seeker, who came to be know as Baby Asha, was transferred from Nauru and hospitalized in Brisbane. This case came to public attention after Doctors refused to discharge Asha as she would have been returned to detention on Nauru. What in other circumstances would have been considered routine clinical care, quickly turned into an act of civil disobedience. This paper will discuss the ethical aspects of this case, along with its implications for clinicians and the broader healthcare community.


Refugees Asylum seekers Ethics Discharge 


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Copyright information

© Journal of Bioethical Inquiry Pty Ltd. 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Sydney Health EthicsThe University of SydneySydneyAustralia
  2. 2.Children’s Hospital at WestmeadSydneyAustralia
  3. 3.Sydney Heath EthicsThe University of SydneySydneyAustralia

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