Irish government deports Nigerian cancer patient inhumanely, says Irish doctor.

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Irish Doctor Michael O'Dwyer
Irish Doctor Michael O'Dwyer

An Irish Medical practitioner is leading a campaign against the deportation of a cancer patient, kicking against the decision by the Irish government to deport her back to Nigeria.

The Nigerian woman, deported from Ireland to her home country on July 15, was said to be nursing a chronic cancer ailment which is currently threatening her life.

Irish Central Newsonline  claimed she may die “within a year or two” without adequate attention as she will not be able to receive suitable care for the life-threatening cancer in her home country.

Consultant hematologist at University Hospital Galway, Professor Michael O’Dwyer had led a campaign against her deportation  claiming the decision to whisk her out of Ireland was wicked and very crude.

Officials were warned in June that sending the woman back to Nigeria would be “tantamount to a death sentence”, according to a consultant hematologist at University Hospital Galway, Professor Michael O’Dwyer.

Nonetheless Minister for Justice Dermot Ahern signed the deportation papers for the woman and her young daughter, in the knowledge that the woman had an aggressive strain of leukemia.

Professor O’Dwyer said in a letter that deporting the woman was “truly shocking, heartless and barbaric”.

The woman was diagnosed with leukemia two years ago. Her life expectancy was three to five years, without treatment. Doctors tried a treatment called lmatinib, which is referred to as “the magic bullet” of cancer treatment. The treatment had no effect.

Professor O’Dwyer then put the woman on Nilotinib, which is described as a more expensive treatment. It proved successful and her leukemia went into remission.

In Professor O’Dwyer’s letter he said that “as an internationally recognized CML (leukemia) expert”, he had little doubt the woman “would not be able to access the drug in Nigeria because according to the report,  expertise in CML mode of treatment management simply does not exist”.

Last weekend Professor O’Dwyer told the Irish Times that he was shocked to hear the woman had been deported.

He said “I would be very worried that without getting this ongoing treatment, she could be dead within a year or two.”

Documents from the Department of Justice show that her medical condition was considered before she was deported. The woman’s lawyers claim that the deportation breaches the European Convention on Human Rights. They say that the woman had been treated inhumanely and in a degrading manner.

The Department also took into account the fact that she had traveled to Italy on false documentation. They declined comment saying that they did not comment on individual cases.

In 2007 the woman came to Ireland and lived in a hostel in Galway. Her daughter was born in Ireland. She applied for refugee status but her application was refused.

The woman is now believed to be in Nigeria but her exact location is unknown.