Negligent vaccine nurses jailed for five years

Luse Emo Tauvale. Photo: Vaitogi Asuisui Matafeo (Source.)

by Brian Shilhavy
Editor, Health Impact News

Chief Justice of the Samoa Supreme Court Vui Clarence Nelson sentenced two nurses this week (August, 2019) convicted of negligence and manslaughter in the death of two infants who died immediately after receiving the MMR vaccine.

See our previous coverage:

Samoa Seizes All MMR Vaccines After Two Infants Die Minutes After Receiving the Vaccine

Nurses Plead Guilty to Manslaughter over 2 Babies Who Died from Forced MMR Vaccines

samoa babys mmr death

Two 1-year-old infants died in Samoa within minutes after receiving the MMR vaccines. Image courtesy of TV1 Samoa.

Health Impact News reported on the original story in 2018 when it made headline news on TV1 in Samoa.

Tala Fou brings you breaking news on the death of two young children both aged 1-year-old from the villages of Safotu and Sasina in Savaii. Both children died within minutes of being vaccinated with the MMR vacine at Safotu Hospital on Friday morning the 6th of July.

Our News Reporter Alisa Faamaoni met with both families in Savaii today. The parents of the first child Marietta and Samuelu Tuisuesue of Sasina explained in detail to Tala Fou that within three minutes of their 1-year-old daughter Lannacallystah Samuelu being injected with the MMR vacine by a nurse she was dead. (Source.)

What was so tragic about this story was that the parents of the second child who died had reportedly already learned about the first infant’s death a couple hours earlier and declined to have their child receive the same vaccine.

The mother reported that the nurse administered the MMR vaccine against her consent, leading to the child’s immediate death upon receiving the vaccine.

The second family from Safotu is still coming to grips with the loss of their 1-year-old son Lameko Siu. The parents Punipuao and Si’u Timua arrived at the Safotu hospital with their son Lameko on Friday within two hours of the death of the first child once they became aware of what had happend the mother refused to allow her son to be vaccinated.

The mother claims that the nurse on duty persisted and without her consent vaccinated her son administering the MMR vaccine and within a minute he was dead. (Source.)

Both nurses eventually pleaded guilty to manslaughter charges and charges of neglect, and their sentencing hearing was this past week. The Samoa Observer reports:

Two nurses have been sentenced to five years’ jail for their roles in negligently preparing and administering a “deadly mixture” of a Measles, Mumps and Rubella (M.M.R.) vaccine and expired anaesthetic that caused the death of two infants in Savai’i last July.

Acting Chief Justice of the Supreme Court Vui Clarence Nelson sentenced the nurses, Luse Emo Tauvale and Leutogi Te’o, to five years in prison for negligence causing manslaughter over the death of two one-year-olds: a boy, Lannah Samuelu, of Sasina and a girl, Lameko Siu, of Safotu Savai’i.

Justice Vui said that applicable nursing protocols required that further vaccinations at the hospital should have stopped following the death of a previously healthy baby.

“It appears from the material the defendants did not recognise the possibility the problem was the vaccine,” he said.

The defendants told the Probation Office they concluded the baby was allergic to the vaccine.

“They concluded without any evidence to support their theory; a conclusion plucked out of thin air,” the Acting Chief Justice said.

The second defendant, Leutogi, concluded that the child must have been suffering from a prior illness.

Justice Vui characterised this as a “clearly callous observation unsupported by evidence”.

“If the child was sick, they should have not immunised the baby,” he said. (Source.)

The judge came down harder on nurse Leutogi, saying that her crime related to negligence in her duties as a Nurse Manager and her role in pressuring the mother of the second baby, to have the vaccine after she objected to having her child vaccinated, because she already knew about the first baby’s death. She also allegedly tried to conceal her mistake.

“And so Luse told her if that was case, she would need to sign a refusal to consent form; at this point Leutogi then convinced the mother to have her child vaccinated,” he said.

Police said Leutogi was warned by the other nurses not to but used the same mixture that had been administered to the first child earlier that morning and the nurse proceeded to personally administer the vaccine to the baby.

In a mirror of the first case earlier that morning the baby’s condition rapidly deteriorated.

“Efforts to save this young baby stood no chance,” Justice Vui said.

“It took the death of the second child before the defendants to finally realise the problem laid not on the children but the supposedly safe vaccine.”

Luse retraced her steps to the rubbish bin and retrieved the anaesthetic and syringes, where she noticed that the wrong bottle had been used to mix the vaccine and that it was expired.

“Fear for consequences for her [led her to conceal] the vial and rest of the vaccine in a plastic bag and put it in her pocket; [she] said nothing to anyone about what she had discovered,” Justice Vui said. (Source.)

Read the full story at The Samoa Observer

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