Two Nurses Sentenced to Five Years for Manslaughter and Negligence in MMR Vaccine Deaths of Two Babies
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. Health Impact News reported on the original story in 2018 when it made headline news on TV1 in Samoa. 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. They were coerced into receiving it anyway, and their child died almost immediately. Both nurses eventually pleaded guilty to manslaughter charges and charges of neglect, and their sentencing hearing was this past week. 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.