26 Feb 2010

American Samoa burial delayed by lack of a pathologist

9:29 am on 26 February 2010

The body of a young man who died six months ago in American Samoa cannot be buried because the LBJ Hospital does not have a pathologist to carry out the autopsy.

The hospital says it can bring in a pathologist from Samoa to carry out the autopsy but wants the Attorney General's Office to pay since the operation is for forensic purposes, not medical.

But there's been no commitment from the Attorney General's Office to cover the expenses, and the hospital does not appear to be making any arrangements to bring the pathologist from Samoa until the funding is resolved.

In the meantime the boy's parents continue to wait for word from the authorities on when they can bury their son.

A family member said they are not even allowed to see his body at the hospital morgue.

He said it was inhumane for the government to refuse the release of the boy's body if they cannot provide a pathologist for an autopsy.