Immigration: Mother consigned to certain death by harsh new rules
A young mother fell ill and died on a visit to Britain - an innocent victim of the hysteria over so-called health tourism
When Ese Elizabeth Alabi fell ill while on a trip to Britain and was told she urgently needed a heart transplant, she comforted herself with the knowledge that she was in a democratic country with an excellent healthcare system.
Instead, she was consigned to a certain death by draconian new rules brought in to quell the hysteria over so-called health tourism and immigration.
Ms Alabi was denied the chance of a heart transplant simply on the grounds of her nationality and died in hospital on Monday night at the age of 29, leaving three-month-old twin boys and a two-year-old son. Desperate attempts to get a High Court judge to overturn the rules were delayed as Ms Alabi was forced to fight a deportation battle even as she lay dying in hospital.
Her partner, Abiodun Abe, attacked the restrictions that relegated his partner to a lower priority than less sick patients. He said: "I am so angry. I love Britain and I thought it was a fair place but my wife has died because of these laws.
"Ese was devoted to God and was a good person. She always had faith that the judge would be good to her and that she would get a heart but it didn't happen."
Ms Alabi's case offers a graphic illustration of the other side of Britain's immigration debate, fuelled this week by the Home Office's admission that it has no idea of the number of illegal immigrants in the country. The Government's new rules, brought inlast year in an effort to quell fears of foreigners coming to Britain to take advantage of the NHS meant that Ese was effectively denied any chance to live.
A last-ditch bid was launched last week to persuade the High Court to overturn that decision but Ese's condition deteriorated before a judge could rule.
Richard Stein, a solicitor with the law firm Leigh Day and Co, who represented Ms Alabi, said: "I accept that there is a shortage of organs and that there was no guarantee that Ese would have got one, but she should not have been denied the chance because of the country she came from.
"After all, organs transplants are not decided on the basis of the colour of a person's skin.
"She was not a health tourist - she simply had the misfortune to fall ill here." He added: "I accept that we have to have rules to stop people from taking advantage of the NHS but they should not discriminate against people with genuine need because of this obsession about immigration.
"I think it is appalling that a civilised country like Britain treats someone like that.
"Her death was unnecessary."
Ese lived in Nigeria with her two-year-old son from a previous relationship and met Mr Abe when he returned for a visit there.
He has indefinite leave to remain in Britain and until recently worked for the Post Office.
As their relationship flourished, Ese made regular visits to Mr Abe at his home in Grays, Essex, but never overstayed her six-month tourist visas.
She travelled to Britain in September last year while pregnant with twins by Mr Abe and intended to return to her family in Nigeria to have the babies, but began feeling ill and breathless and was told she could not fly home. The twin boys, Jamal and Jazar, were born on 13 February but Ese's condition continued to worsen and she was taken to hospital in March.
She was diagnosed with dilated cardiomyopathy, which causes the heart to become enlarged, and was told her only hope was a transplant.
But she was then told that the new rules meant that while British, EU citizens and people from some other countries were put on a priority "group one" list for donor hearts, she would only put on a lower, group two list. With about 100 people on the group one list at any time and a shortage of organs, it meant she had no chance of receiving the heart she needed.
Lawyers went to the High Court asking for a judicial review of the rules but then had to fight on a second front after it emerged that Ese's illness meant she had overstayed her visa, which expired on March.
The judge adjourned the case for inquiries to take place about Ese's application for exceptional leave to remain, but by last Friday she had become so ill that doctors said she would not withstand a transplant even if a heart became available and she was at the top of the list.
Mr Abe said: "She was a very strong person and she tried to hold on. I took the babies to see her on Monday night and she gave them a kiss and touched them. I took them home and as I was taking them upstairs to bed the phone rang to say she was dead."
He now wants Ese to be buried in Britain so that the sons who never knew her will at least have her grave to visit.
A spokesman for the Department of Health said: "This is a tragic case, and we wish to express sympathy for Ms A and her family. It has involved an extremely sad and difficult process.
"Whilst no person is wholly excluded from receiving an organ, priority is given to those who are entitled to NHS treatment. We believe this to be a lawful, fair and reasonable way of allocating organs, and it is clearly supported by those who work in the field."
- 1 Student jailed for hacking University of Birmingham computers to improve his grades
- 2 Smartphones are making children borderline autistic, says psychiatrist
- 3 Company breaks open Apple Watch to discover what it says is 'planned obsolescence'
- 5 The most powerful passports in the world
Student jailed for hacking University of Birmingham computers to improve his grades
Smartphones are making children borderline autistic, says psychiatrist
Nepal earthquake: More than 1,100 killed across four countries and in Mount Everest avalanche
Royal baby: Live updates as the wait continues for Duchess of Cambridge's second child
Hermann Goering's daughter fails to reclaim items looted by Nazi deputy during WWII
The sickening truth about food banks that the Tories don't want you to know
Migrant boat disaster: Ukip candidate mocks victims in sickening Twitter post
Nigel Farage wants the BBC to stop making programmes like Doctor Who, Strictly Come Dancing, and Top Gear
Global warming: Scientists say temperatures could rise by 6C by 2100 and call for action ahead of UN meeting in Paris
General Election 2015: Britain would become a 'communist dictatorship' under Ed Miliband and Nicola Sturgeon, claims wife of Michael Gove
Rupert Murdoch berated Sun journalists for not doing enough to attack Ed Miliband and stop him winning the general election
£26000 - £28000 per annum + benefits : Ashdown Group: Senior Accounts Assistan...
£24000 - £26000 per annum + benefits : Ashdown Group: A highly successful, glo...
£22000 - £40000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This company is part of a Group...
£16000 - £18000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: Are you a a young, dynamic pers...