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A child in detention: dilemmas faced by health professionals

Karen J Zwi, Brenda Herzberg, David Dossetor and Jyotsna Field
Med J Aust 2003; 179 (6): 319-322.

A 6-year-old child, held in detention with his parents pending the outcome of their application for refugee status, manifested psychological distress by repeated episodes of refusing to eat or drink. This case presented clinical and ethical dilemmas for health professionals who were constrained from acting in the child’s best interests by government policy of mandatory detention.

Karen J Zwi, FRACP, Fellow in Child Psychiatry; currently Lecturer (Paediatrics), University of New South Wales and Sydney Children’s Hospital1
Brenda Herzberg, FRANZCP, Child Psychiatrist; currently Staff Specialist, Prince of Wales Hospital2
David Dossetor, FRCPsych, Child Psychiatrist3
Jyotsna Field, MPsych, Private Psychotherapist4
1 Department of Psychological Medicine, Children’s Hospital at Westmead, Sydney, NSW.
2 Sydney, NSW.
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