22 Oct 2005

Samoa health minister asks to see parents of boy who died during doctors' strike

5:37 am on 22 October 2005

Samoa's Health Minister Mulitalo Siafausa Vui has asked to see the parents of a boy who died whilst government doctors were on strike.

Viliamu and Sapi Tufaga are claiming that their 13- month-old son died after a doctor refused to see him at the national hospital in Moto'otua.

A nurse bathed him and gave him oxygen.

But they say the only doctor on duty, an Indian expatriate, had refused to see their son, because it was past eight o'clock at night.

The government has ordered the outpatient unit at the hospital to be shut at eight each night because of the doctor's strike.

The couple took their son home with the intention of taking him to see a private doctor the next morning, but the boy died before they could do so.

The minister, Mulitalo Siafausa Vui, says there can only be an investigation into the parents' allegations if he receives a complaint.

Mulitalo says his ministry has no record of the boy being taken to the national hospital at Moto'otua on Sunday local time, or of his death the next day.

The strike by government doctors continues for a seventh week.