Attorney files federal claim in baby’s death
PAGO PAGO, American Samoa » A Honolulu attorney representing the family of baby Michael Tony Futi has filed a claim against the federal government in the child's death.
The 14-day-old American Samoan child died Feb. 9 while locked in a customs room at Honolulu Airport with his mother and a nurse.
The baby had been flown from Pago Pago for emergency surgery in Hawaii to repair a hole in his heart.
Attorney Rick Fried of Honolulu did not disclose the amount of money being sought, but said the claim could lead to a lawsuit alleging wrongful death.
His mother, Luaipou Futi, and a nurse, Arizona Veavea, were detained with the baby when he died.
Fried said he filed a tort claim Tuesday, giving the federal government six months to reply. If there is no response, he would file an official complaint, he said.
Funeral services for the baby are set for March 8 in Honolulu.
American Samoa's delegate to Congress, Eni Faleomavaega, a Democrat, and Rep. Peter T. King, R-N.Y., called for an investigation into the baby's death. Members of Hawaii's congressional delegation also have called for an investigation.
Faleomavaega's office said no official response is expected until the investigation is completed.
The territorial House of Representatives has called for a local probe into the case, including an investigation as to whether LBJ Medical Center, which sent the baby to Honolulu, took all necessary steps before the infant was sent off island.
Acting Gov. Ipulasi Aitofele Sunia said this week that he believes that under current law there is no reason for a local investigation. He said the medical center followed all the necessary procedures before the infant was taken to Honolulu, accompanied by Veavea, for medical treatment that was not available on island.
LBJ's general counsel, Terry Lovelace, said the hospital did everything properly, sending the child to Honolulu "as soon as he was stable enough for transfer."