There’s an outrage in the migrant community in New Zealand following the death of a kidney patient who was deported out of New Zealand.
Sanil Kumar was waiting for a kidney transplant to save his life. His family, friends and well-wishers had already raised NZ$130,000 needed for the surgery, since he was not eligible for state-funded medical treatment.
His cousin, a New Zealand citizen, had already started the tissue-matching procedure to be a kidney donor to save Sanil.
However, the New Zealand associate minister for immigration, Nikki Kaye, declined to intervene in his deportation back to Fiji last month.
He passed away yesterday in Fiji’s Loutuka Hospital, One News reported. It is intriguing, to put it mildly, why someone who was on a life-threatening disease and had the money to be treated in New Zealand, was sent back to Fiji where medical facilities are known to be not comparable to New Zealand.
“Where would have been the harm to NZ if Sanil was allowed to get his operation here?” asks Labour MP Rajen Prasad, in a tweet.
To Associate Minister Nicky Kaye and Immigration NZ – where would have been the harm to NZ if Sanil was allowed to get his operation here?
— Rajen Prasad (@RajenPrasad) May 26, 2014
The New Zealand Immigration system has been utterly heartless as Sanil had a kidney donor within his family and his community were busy raising the $130,000 needed for the transplant operation, says Rajen, in a statement.
“He was deported, to what I predicted in April, would be his almost certain death as he simply wasn’t given the chance to have the operation in New Zealand. It was also clear a month ago that the type of dialysis treatment he had been receiving in New Zealand was not available in Fiji.
“A sensible Minister and an intelligent Immigration system would have understood that this was a life and death issue for Sanil.
In her defence, the associate minister has put the blame of the ministry of health.
In a statement explaining her decision, Nikki says she received advice from the Ministry of Health that appropriate dialysis services were available for Sanil in Fiji before she made her decision. If only she had cared to read a Stuff news story as early as 21 November 2013, which confirmed that Fiji did not have facilities to treat Sanil.
It was a life or death situation for Sanil because the Kidney Foundation of Fiji told Stuff reporter, Monica Tischler, peritoneal dialysis isn’t available in Fiji.
The Foundation says only haemodialysis is available as the peritoneal option is costly and most of the patients using it died because of uncontrollably high infection rates, Monica wrote in the Western Leader (Stuff) article.
“If I have go back to Fiji I will die,” Sanil told the reporter.
The 30-year old plumber had been working in New Zealand on a work visa since 2010. Immigration New Zealand declined to renew his visa in July 2013 as there were New Zealanders who could do the job.
Being on work visa in New Zealand, Sanil was ineligible for taxpayer-funded healthcare. His family, however, was arranging funds for his kidney transplant.
“Nikki Kaye has based her decision not to intervene on a Ministry of Health report to her which states that patients may receive three months free treatment for local patients from the Fijian Government during which time they ‘need either to find a live donor and be prepared to pay for their dialysis treatment thereafter (FJ$32,000 per year),” Rajen had said in a statement on 23 April, soon after Sanil’s deportation.
“Fiji does not perform kidney transplants but sometimes sends patients to India if a donor can be found,” Rajen had said.