Head of Paediatric Ward, Papalii Dr Tito Kamu defends his decision

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Papalii Dr Tito Kamu stands his grounds the baby that died last month was due to severe pneumonia, not Covid and there was no need for the Police to interfere, as his decision was based on the medical history of the patient.

The Head of the Paediatric Ward also made it clear he “meant no disrespect” or “to disobey” the law or orders of the Coroner and District Court Judge Alalatoa Rosella Papali’i. 

His comments follow the warning issued by the Coroner last week against Papalii and the Medical Profession that noncompliance with orders of the Coroner will result in contempt of Court.

The Coroner’s warning was outlined in an interim order, obtained by Radio Polynesia dated 25 March concerning the death of a four-month-old baby that passed away last month. 

The infant was released from the hospital and the next day the baby died when the family was on their way to bury the infant, Police intercepted the body and returned the baby to the mortuary.

A police investigation was launched immediately.

In turn, the Coroner ordered a full medical report from Papalii, to be submitted and it must include whether the baby’s death was covid related.

In an interview with Radio Polynesia, Papalii said there were factors that contributed to the death of the baby in question.

The child’s high blood cells count was high and X-ray images indicated he had pneumonia on the right side of his chest which required oxygen and antibiotics IV.

Papalii who has been a doctor for over 22 years, explained that despite medical advice, the family signed a consent form to release the child and Samoa doesn’t have laws to prohibit the discharging of a sick child against medical advice, unlike other Countries.

The Judge in her interim order cited that the medical report by Papalii outlined a general complaint against the “Police regarding discharging their duties and how information should be accurately relayed to the Coroner”.

In response, Papalii said his concerns were valid, and there are too many unnecessary dead bodies inside the hospital mortuary; the cause of death is known but the Police interfere and intervene with their diagnostic and decisions. 

But nonetheless, Papali’i said he will always obey laws and regulations even orders from the Coroner.

“I know that no one is above the law,” said Papalii.

The Judge, ordered to release of the body of the infant to his parent and scheduled the Inquest hearing for 20 July 2022.