P.M. stands by dead babies' decision

Prime Minister, Tuilaepa Dr. Sa'ilele Malielegaoi, is standing by the decision to keep the bodies of eight dead babies to await a coronial inquest.

Asked for a comment, Tuilaepa said it is critical that a post mortem is conducted and that the cause of death is determined.

The Prime Minister was asked for a comment after one of the families complained that they are desperate to bury their child.

The family declined to have their name published fearing repercussions but they claimed that they have already contacted the Prime Minister for help.

A woman, who identified herself as the grandmother, said the decision to hold back the body doesn’t make sense. 

Prime Minister Tuilaepa confirmed that the family had approached him for help. 

“The hold up by the Health authorities is in accordance with the normal process when a coronial inquest is required by the doctor,” Tuilaepa said. 

The Prime Minister assured the parents the Government has already moved on the paper work to bring a Pathologist to Samoa for the post mortem.

He reiterated that the health authorities are following the process as required by the law.

According to the Prime Minister, the Police and the Court are involved in the process when it comes to a coronial inquest. 

Commissioner of Police, Fuiavaili’ili Egon Keil, told the Samoa Observer earlier there is not much they could do.

“And while we feel for the families, the Police do not have a choice.  We want the families to bury their babies, this is the last thing they need right now, but we cannot release the bodies until the process is complete.”

He said the request for a coronial inquest was made by doctors and it is the Police’s responsibility to do the paperwork and submit it to the Court for the Coroner, who is a Judge, to sign off.

The Commissioner said the majority of the cases were declared earlier as measles-related.

The Commissioner added that doctors requested a coronial inquest “when they have a question as to the cause of death.”



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