Immigration service staff refused on five occasions to call an
ambulance for a seriously ill asylum seeker, it was alleged at an
inquest into her death last week.
Ian Macdonald QC, barrister for the family, told the inquest
that at the time of each missed opportunity immigration service
staff were aware that Elmas Ozmico needed to go to hospital but did
not dial 999.
Ozmico, 40, arrived in the UK in July 2003 from Turkey with her
two children and nephew. She became ill at Dover detention centre
and died of septicaemia three days after being admitted to
Jacqueline Luetchford, assistant director with the immigration
service in Dover, who was not present at the time of the incident,
said: “I don’t think that the people there at that time were aware
of the seriousness of Mrs Ozmico’s condition.”
Ozmico had a wound on her leg. Immigration service guidelines
state that all trauma cases involving open wounds should be taken
to A&E and that immigration service staff themselves should
call an ambulance.
Macdonald said that, instead, the staff had tried to get
detention centre operator Wackenhut, now called GSL, to take Ozmico
to hospital but it refused. Staff then tried to get the police to
call emergency services but they also refused
Eventually the staff gave her temporary admission to the charity
Migrant Helpline which rang for an ambulance.