Original Article URL: http://malama.solupress.com/malama/news/articles/article2213.asp
By Malama TV, Andrew Fa’asau, News Reporter
Tuesday, February 12, 2008
The father of 18-day-old Michael Futi who died in Hawaii last Friday told Malama TV that he never thought his son would die the way he did.
“We were praying that his surgery would be successful,” he said.
A heartbroken Tony Futi told Malama TV News that they only took two photos of his son for his travel documents but if he had known it was going to be last time he would see and hold him, he would have had more photos of him taken to remember him by.
As of news time, authorities in Honolulu have still not disclosed the reason why the baby, his mother and a nurse had been detained inside a locked room at the airport until it was too late to save him.
According to LBJ General Counsel Terry Lovelace, all travel documents for baby Michael Futi, his mother Luaitou and a nurse had been in order and he sees no reason Honolulu airport authorities held them up.
Lovelace said they are shocked and horrified to learn that the baby died while being detained and reiterated that all their travel papers had been order.
He explained that the hospital obtained a visa waiver for the baby’s mother who is a Samoan citizen so she could travel with her son.
The visa waiver was filled out by the US Customs and Border Protection on their form sent from the Honolulu Office which said that the mother may travel and stay for the duration of her son’s treatment.
The child was born at LBJ with a heart defect and was referred to Honolulu as soon as he was stable enough to travel.
He was scheduled to undergo heart surgery at Kapiolani Hospital.
According to the family attorney Rick Fried, the baby, his mother and a nurse had been the first ones to get off the plane and the first in line at Immigrations and Customs check-points.
However, despite the baby having an IV, the authorities decided to hold them in a warm room.
The nurse was very concerned and finally after about 30 minutes in this warm room, the baby started to have problems.
There was obviously oxygen available at the airport but they were locked in this room and could not get out, said Fried.
And when both the mother and nurse were screaming for help to call 911, the nurse was saying the people who were outside were saying stay calm, relax.
Finally about 5 minutes later when the baby was in terrible trouble, someone opened the door and then about 10 minutes after that, the emergency medical people arrived but by then it was too late.
So they took the child to the nearest hospital which was Kaiser Hospital but were unable to resuscitate the baby.
Counsel Fried is filing a tort claim with the State of Hawaii first and under state law they can only file a lawsuit after 6 months.
He has not seceded all of the parties who will be named as defendants but indicated that the US government, Customs and Immigration would be named.