Heartbroken mother of girl who developed sepsis on Christmas Island issues an emotional plea


Heartbroken mother of three-year-old girl who developed sepsis while on Australia’s Christmas Island issues an emotional plea from her daughter’s bedside: ‘Please get us home’

  • Advocates are calling for a family detained on Christmas Island to come to Aus
  • The Murugappan family are living on the island at a cost of $4,000 a day
  • Their three-year-old daughter Tharnicaa has contracted suspected sepsis 

The mum of Australian-born Tamil youngster Tharnicaa Murugappan has issued emotional plea from her daughter’s hospital bedside as her little girl fights a blood infection.

There are growing calls for the Biloela family detained on Christmas Island to be resettled in Australia after three-year-old Tharnicaa was flown to Perth Children’s Hospital after being evacuated from the island with her mother Priya.

Ms Murugappan has issued an emotional plea as supporters plan to hold a candelight vigil outside the hospital on Wednesday night.

Tharnicaa (right) is currently being medically evacuated to Perth after being hospitalised on Christmas Island with a suspected blood infection.

Tharnicaa (right) is currently being medically evacuated to Perth after being hospitalised on Christmas Island with a suspected blood infection.

‘I want to thank everybody for their love and good wishes,’ Priya said in a video message as she cradled her daughter.

‘I hope that Tharnicaa can get the help she needs now. Please, help us to get her out of detention and home to Biloela.’

Priya says her daughter was sick for almost two weeks and that medical contractors at the immigration detention centre repeatedly refused to take her to hospital. 

 Her potentially-deadly blood infection has been linked by supporters to untreated pneumonia.

Candelight vigils will be held outside Perth hospital on Wednesday evening and at Sydney Town Hall on Thursday.

Family supporter Angela Fredericks said medical arrangements for detainees on Christmas Island, far off the coast of WA, were inadequate and dangerous.

‘From my understanding, this would usually show up as a chest infection, which would then get treated,’ she said.

Three-year-old daughter Tharnicaa from the Biloela family has contracted suspected sepsis

Three-year-old daughter Tharnicaa from the Biloela family has contracted suspected sepsis

Three-year-old daughter Tharnicaa from the Biloela family has contracted suspected sepsis

Tharunicaa (pictured) 3, has been rushed to hospital in Perth with sepsis

Tharunicaa (pictured) 3, has been rushed to hospital in Perth with sepsis

She has spent the vast majority of her life locked up by the Australian Government

She has spent the vast majority of her life locked up by the Australian Government

Tharunicaa (pictured) has been rushed to hospital in Perth with sepsis and has spent the vast majority of her life in detention

‘And that would stop it going to pneumonia. If it went to pneumonia, that would then be treated to stop it going into the blood supply.

‘We’ve had two delays in treatment here, which has led to this crisis point.’

The Department of Home Affairs and Australian Border Force said Tharnicaa had been receiving medical treatment and daily monitoring on Christmas Island consistent with medical advice.

‘As soon as the ABF was advised by the treating medical practitioners that the minor required medical treatment in Western Australia, the minor was transferred to a hospital in Western Australia,’ an official said.

‘The Australian Border Force strongly denies any allegations of inaction or mistreatment of individuals in its care.’

Kopika (left) gets taken to school by guards while Priya stays inside to look after three-year-old Tharunicaa (right) - who has now gone to Perth for treatment for sepsis

Kopika (left) gets taken to school by guards while Priya stays inside to look after three-year-old Tharunicaa (right) - who has now gone to Perth for treatment for sepsis

Kopika (left) gets taken to school by guards while Priya stays inside to look after three-year-old Tharunicaa (right) – who has now gone to Perth for treatment for sepsis

Healthcare for detainees was ‘broadly comparable’ with that on the mainland, the official said.

Priya, her husband Nades and their Australian-born daughters Tharnicaa and Kopika, 6, have been in detention since 2018, and on Christmas Island since August 2019.

Home Affairs Minister Karen Andrews said ‘a range of resettlement options’ were under negotiation for detainees.

The government has previously vowed to never permanently resettle anyone who arrives illegally by boat.

Figures released last year showed the government has spent more than $6million detaining the family. Pictured: Priya and Nades

Figures released last year showed the government has spent more than $6million detaining the family. Pictured: Priya and Nades

Figures released last year showed the government has spent more than $6million detaining the family. Pictured: Priya and Nades

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