*M is just 12 years old.
For the past 20 days, he has refused all food and medical treatment.
He weighs just 36 kilograms.
He is now so weak he can’t stand up or even sit.
He hasn’t had a bowel movement in over 15 days and he rarely urinates.
According to Dr Barri Phatarfod, M is suffering from resignation syndrome. Children with this condition become unresponsive and withdraw into themselves, refusing to talk, eat, drink, and go to the toilet.
“This particular child, like many other children, has just completely lost all hope,” Dr Phatarfod told ABC PM.
“We see adults who suffer from depression being unable to take pleasure in usual activities, being unable to be motivated enough to go to work. All of those signs are magnified with children and yet they’re a lot more subtle.”
Eventually, children with this condition end up in a near catatonic state and sometimes it’s even fatal.
“They withdraw from contact, the light goes out in their eyes,” Dr Phatarfod said.
“They don’t want to engage any more and if the only way that they are engaging in society is by eating, then withdrawing that aspect is quite an ominous sign in their complete withdrawal from their life.”
M is an Iranian-born refugee. He has been held on Nauru for the past four years.
On Tuesday afternoon, he was medivacced from Nauru by air ambulance with his mother, stepfather and sister.