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Attorney plans lawsuit in two-week-old baby death

By Jai Cunningham

A two week old baby died at the Honolulu airport last week.

Local attorney Rick Fried believes the U.S. Immigration Agency is responsible for his death.

Michael Tony Futi had a hole in his heart and needed surgery, a surgery that could not be done in American Samoa according to the family's attorney.

Michael was was born on January 25th.

A little more than two weeks later his Mom Luaipou Futi mourns his death.

"At this time her feelings for her son and for the things that have happened she's sad, she's heartbroken," said Simamao Nofoa, a family friend who interpreted for Futi.

It wasn't supposed to be this way. The trip to Hawaii was supposed to help save his life. Fried says trouble for the Futi's began as soon as they got off the plane. And were detained by customs agents.

"After about thirty minutes in this warm locked room the baby starts to have problems with his oxygen," said Rick Fried, who is representing the family.

Fried says by the time medical help arrived at the airport it was too late.

"So if we add the times up we have a delay of probably an hour of when this baby should have left the airport," he said.

Fried says customs agents had some sort of problem with the mother's identification. I.D. he says was in order, as was the medical request which is frequently used by anyone seeking medical attention.

Meanwhile a confused mom wonders what would have happened had officials let her go from the airport in a timely manner. "If they would have let them come out immediately her baby would still be here," Futi said through her interpreter.

Attempts to reach a contact with u-s customs and border protection were unsuccessful.

Fried says the federal government now has six months to investigate before a lawsuit can be filed.