24 Apr 2009

American Samoa makes exception to medical referral suspension

1:25 pm on 24 April 2009

The LBJ Hospital in American Samoa has flown a patient to the United States, making an exception to its freeze on sending patients for medical referral off island at the government's expense.

A three-month old baby, along with a doctor, has been flown to the Shriners Hospital in San Francisco for treatment.

The Chairman of the Hospital Authority Board, Moananu Va, says the child was in a life threatening condition and her family could not afford the cost of sending her off island.

The Shriners Hospital has offered to treat the infant free of charge.

The territorial Government has only approved one million US dollars for the referral of patients off island in the current fiscal year and that money was gone in the first quarter.

The hospital says it needs five million dollars to resume the programme and pay debts.