Nurses plead guilty over Savai'i babies' deaths

The two nurses accused in relation to an incident where two infants died, after they were administered the Mumps, Measles and Rubella (M.M.R.) vaccine in July last year, have pleaded guilty to charges against them.

They are scheduled to be sentenced on 17th June 2019. 

This follows a change of plea by Luse Emo Tauvale and Leutogi Teo, into the death of the two one-year-old infants from Sasina and Safotu Savai’i on 6th July 2018. 

Ms. Tauvale pleaded guilty to two charges of negligence in mixing the doses, causing manslaughter to one-year-old Lana Samuelu of Sasina and one-year-old Lameko Siu of Safotu, Savai’i.  

She also pleaded guilty to conspiring to defeat the cause of justice in relation to an investigation into the death of the two infants at the Safotu District Court in Savai’i. 

The other nurse, Ms. Teo, pleaded guilty to one charge of negligence causing manslaughter to the one-year-old infant boy from Sasina. 

They were represented by lawyer, Tauiliili Harry Schuster, and Maureen Tuimaleali’ifano. 

Prosecutor is Assistant Attorney General Magele Leone Sua, who was assisted by Veiuto Fa’asii. 

Acting Chief Justice Vui Clarence Nelson presided. 

Earlier on, the prosecution withdrew several charges and proceeded with the four charges against the two nurses. 

The nurses initially pleaded not guilty to the charges. 

They are remanded in bail pending their sentencing.

Following the incident in July last year, the Ministry of Health suspended the M.M.R. vaccination while an investigation and inquiry was launched. 

The inquiry looked at the procedures that were used to administer the vaccines and alleged discrepancies relating to the death of the two infants. 

In April this year, the suspension on the M.M.R. was lifted when Health authorities declared the vaccine safe. 

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