Baby's death at airport sparks calls ...

Baby's death at airport sparks calls for inquiry

There are 72 comments on the Honolulu Star-Bulletin story from Feb 17, 2008, titled Baby's death at airport sparks calls for inquiry. In it, Honolulu Star-Bulletin reports that:

PAGO PAGO, American Samoa American Samoa's Democratic delegate to Congress has joined with the ranking Republican on the House Homeland Security Committee in calling for investigation into the death of a baby ...

Join the discussion below, or Read more at Honolulu Star-Bulletin.

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Honolulu, HI

#1 Feb 17, 2008
somebody should burn in hell for this

Kailua, HI

#2 Feb 17, 2008
We need to start opening our hearteyes, look beyond the natural and relly start caring about one another needs as we do our own. Theres so much selfishness in our world today.Had those in charge would of looked into the eyes of Mrs.Luaipou Futi while being detained they would nodoubt have seen beyound the natural.

Ripon, CA

#4 Feb 17, 2008
As I said on a prior thread last week. Very sad situation. Bottom line... A mother lost her baby and a baby lost his life...

Should there be a full investigation? Absolutely! I know prior posters (in the other thread) seemed to think some of us were too quick to defend the Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) personnel (or CBP personnel). I think they must also acknowledge many folks are very quick to condemn them as well.

None of us knows the full details of the situation and exactly what happened. For this reason a full investigation should be conducted. Any mistakes, violations of policy, etc (if any) need to be addressed and dealt with.

If a violation, negligence, or other malicious act caused the baby to die, then most certainly people should be held accountable. If none such issues exist, then those involved should be exonerated. Unfortunately the end result will be the same (the loss of a little life) regardless of the outcome.

Based on the limited information provided in the news articles, I still have yet to see any negligence on the part of the government employees. Again all the facts and details are not in, but as quick as some folks are demanding people be fired, jailed, burned in hell, etc. I would seem reasonable to have a few voices out there trying to be rational and not jumping on the emotional (popular) bandwagon of automatically condemning the government employees.

It's a cliche to say the least... All stories about the police have the same people saying all cops are dirty and/or use excessive force, etc. It' just the "in" thing to say/do. In some cases (the minority of cases) it is true, but overall most police officers, immigration/customs inspectors/officers/agents and professionals who do things by the book and really work their jobs to provide service to the public.

Course that's not the popular thing to say... It's just the truthful thing...
loco moco

Richmond, VA

#5 Feb 17, 2008
The above poster wants us to withhold our opinions but is quite willing to restate his. I guess this is his version of "rules are made to be broken", so too bad -- I'm going to ignore his proposed rule just like he does.

I actually do agree that sometimes rules need to be broken, and that's why I think we ought to be tough on whichever babooze(s) at the airport decided to be hardheads and sticklers for the regs. Where was the insight and compassion? Their coldhearted actions make their agency's acronym, "ICE", bitterly appropriate.

Glendale, AZ

#7 Feb 17, 2008
WOW! What a tragedy. My heart goes out to the Futi Family. It sounds like something went wrong that day at the airport; now whos to Blame? Ofcourse the government wont want to take the blame,but seen it happen too many times,TSA,Customs, are they really trying to do there job?Seems to me that they always try to be wanna bes,yeah wanna be big shot agents. They seem to overlook what they should be looking for, and what shouldnt be so concern about they over do it.They try to keep our country safe, but things still happen,they need to pay attention to screening not trying to impress whos watching, some agents "TRY" to act tuff or big shot. They really need to be screened themselves,In Phoenix, some of them think were little kids when were in line, the way they yell at the passengers, some of us is older then they are, All you TSA agents maybe need to be re-trained, I hope it didnt go the way I think it went, what a tragedy. God Bless the Futi Family, and God Bless the agents working that day, my heart goes out to all......
From Hawaii

Springtown, TX

#8 Feb 17, 2008
I think NONE of us on here know what actually happened. Maybe the baby really wasn't stable enough to travel in the fist place? Maybe Customs took took long processing documents? Maybe it was a combination of the above? Maybe it just happened and no one was at fault?
None of us know, so to point fingers of blame in any direction seems inappropriate.

Addison, IL

#9 Feb 17, 2008
Is it only me or does every TSA, Security, Customs, ect.. employee get hired upon the qualifications that you hold no common sense, be as rude as humanly possible and strong dislike for any Aloha??
D Chung

Washington, DC

#10 Feb 17, 2008
TSA agents don't make decisions they follow orders - otherwise they would be unemployed.

The problem start at the top. The folks who make the policy need to be held accountable.

Ripon, CA

#11 Feb 17, 2008
loco moco wrote:
The above poster wants us to withhold our opinions but is quite willing to restate his.
WOW! Loco moco thank you for proving my very point with your post. Did you even take the time to read what I wrote? I never suggested anyone withhold their opinions. I suggest and would hope people would withhold their judgments until all the facts are in, but certainly everyone (even you) is entitled to their opinion. You state I’ve created some “rules” against giving an opinion, but you’re going to persevere and give your opinion anyway by “breaking my rules”. I guess you need to create some fantasy in your mind that you’re somehow ignoring some non-existent rule you say I’ve created? Then you talk about sometimes rules need to be broken. This I’ll guess is now directed at ICE and not me? Kind of confusing. Maybe read my original post again.
Loco moco, you have the benefit (as we all do) of hindsight here. The incident we’re discussing has already taken place and decisions were already made. Being an armchair quarterback after the fact is *VERY* easy. You already get to see how one decision was made and if you don’t like the outcome you have the luxury of saying you would have made (or the people who made the original decision should have made) a different decision. What a wonderful world we’d live in if we had the ability to see into the future and/or got a “do over” if a decision that was made didn’t work out the way we wanted.
I’m sure if ICE, the airline, or any other involved folks had any indication the baby was going to die and/or deteriorate so quickly, everyone would have called for an ambulance to meet them at the gate immediately upon arrival. Obviously (at least so far) it doesn’t seem mom or the NURSE traveling with mom felt the need to request EMS meet them at the gate. Are you suggesting they knew the baby needed EMS and they ignored it?(see how fun it can be to put words into someones mouth like you’ve done with me?) Certainly mom and the nurse should be ASSUMED to care about the baby and requested 911 or EMS immediately if they knew the baby was starting to die. Neither appeared to have done so. So lets guess they did not realize how serious and rapidly the baby was failing?
So if mom and the NURSE who traveled together with the baby (and knew the baby better than anyone else) did not sound the alarm, you’re now suggesting an ICE employee should have known within the first few minutes of contacting them? Sounds like the length of their contact with ICE was fairly minimal (30 minute range) and EMS responded to help the baby as soon as a problem was discovered. Would baby have been alive had they not been detained by ICE? Would baby have died at the baggage claim, curbside getting into a car, or during the drive to the hospital in traffic? Would the baby have died in the parking lot or lobby of the hospital? Only God knows the answer to those questions.
Bottom line is a baby died, a mother is without her child, and everyone is upset and emotional about it (and this is completely understandable). Everyone demands some explanation and justice for the robbing of a life so young. Unfortunately sometimes there is no rhyme or reason to why God takes anyone home. The rottenest person survives an illness, accident, or some other event that any “normal” person would have died in, while a good, loving, young, or decent person is killed. There is no sense to death many times. As sad as it is, I think to blame this on employees (unless something surfaces that shows some inappropriate, illegal, or out of policy decisions) to try and place blame on such a tragedy is sadly misplaced. Please understand this is MY OPINION and you’re certainly welcome to disagree with it.

Fayetteville, NC

#12 Feb 17, 2008
TSA agents don't make decisions they follow orders - otherwise they would be unemployed.
The problem start at the top. The folks who make the policy need to be held accountable. very true then again the baby was not Osama Bin Laden this whole thing could of been stoped!!!!!
Honomu Kid

Glendale, CA

#13 Feb 17, 2008
Unfortunately this is very typical of the attitude of most government employees at all levels. They have a total indiffernce to the people they are supposed to "serve."
TSA agents in particular have a very arrogant attitude to their "customers." They are wannabe SWAT team members with cloth badges who think they can push the public around with impunity under the guise of homeland security. Their lack of professionalism is astounding.
Got Haka


#14 Feb 17, 2008
How did you people weasel TSA and ICE into this story?
Take responsibility

United States

#15 Feb 17, 2008
Alofa atu i le aiga. This is indeed a tragedy. LBJ Hospital needs to take responsibility. The politicians and matai need to take responsibility. We as a people need to take responsibility. We need to demand better health care. We need to not take advantage of the system, but use it for the purpose it is designed for which is to help us maintain our health. Samoa is barely above the level of a 3rd world country when it comes to health care. The contracts given to physicians and nurses to care for our people are given to any Tom, Dick, Mary or Peggy Sue. And when that contract is awarded, the attitude is that they are doing us a favor and we should be grateful and conform to "their" idea of being a patient in "their" hospital. These contractees should be given cultural awareness and acclimation courses prior to arriving at our loving, compassionate and caring shores. Our infrastructure (if it exists)requires overhauling. Acquire appropriations for upgrading our medical facilities with equipment and increasing the staff. It is utterly archaic to have only a handful of professionals to service the many who require medical treatment.

Waimanalo, HI

#16 Feb 17, 2008
The baby and nurse are American citizens. There is no excuse to hold at the airport. They should been allowed to continue to the hospital while the mother could have remained detained verifying her travel documents. I've never had a problem re-entering the U.S. with my American passport.
raymond bresnan

Bellingham, WA

#17 Feb 17, 2008
homeland security...more harm than good and so it goes. god help us all. ray bresnan seattle

Honolulu, HI

#18 Feb 17, 2008
Wow, how can you possibly write this situation off as a "pay off"?! A CHILD DIED. An innocent infant boy died over "paperwork". Where is the "Cha Ching" in that?

Either you don't have children or a heart or both in order to make such a disgusting, inhumane, and prejudice ("territorial senators") statement as you did.

Cha Ching wrote:
Obviously, this is all smoke and mirrors. It's an ambulance chaser's dream law suit, garunteed MILLIONS. With all of the malpractice at Government Hospitals, like TAMC and LBJMC this is a slam dunk win.
My personal opinion, this baby was not ready for the trip over here, no matter what officials say. American Samoa is closer to a third world country than a American Territory. Stand in line for your CASH PAYOFF all you territorial senators.

United States

#19 Feb 18, 2008
I usually respect the work that TSA does, especially since 911. At some point, common sense comes into play, but not used. We went on a trip to Vegas, my wife, 3 kids, and myself, and my wife was detained, searched, and everything she had as carry-on were searched. Well actually she was searched thoroughly first while we all waited for them to get done with it, then they forget to search her bags. They tell her to go and she goes to grab her bags and they tell her to wait again and searches her purse and her backpack. We had to wait almost half and hour. Half an hour to search a japanese lady with 3 kids and a husband waiting. It would make more sense for them to check me out, but instead went with the lady. And while they did that, they stopped another lady and did the same thing. The part that had me scratching my head was this lady was about 80 years old! WTF?!!!!

United States

#20 Feb 18, 2008

United States

#21 Feb 18, 2008
disgusted wrote:
Wow, how can you possibly write this situation off as a "pay off"?! A CHILD DIED. An innocent infant boy died over "paperwork". Where is the "Cha Ching" in that?
Either you don't have children or a heart or both in order to make such a disgusting, inhumane, and prejudice ("territorial senators") statement as you did.
<quoted text>
The baby did not die over paperwork, the baby died because of doctors that allowed the baby to travel in his condition without having the proper medical equipment. For a baby that sick being a airplane for 8 plus hours versus being a room for 5 plus minutes is way stressful to a adult body let alone a baby. The unfortunate part of this tragedy is that the doctor's in American Samoa are not being sued. The doctor's are the ones that make or should make the decision for any critical patient to travel. The airlines would not have allowed a sick baby to travel without an authorization from a medical doctor saying that the baby is fit to fly. The doctor's knew this baby was going to get on an airplane and should have taken into consideration the flight time and should have provided the nurse with adequate medical equipment should the baby required it. The airline employees were not aware of the medical condition of this child and the urgency to get this child to the hospital upon landing in Honolulu. The airlines would have requested an ambulance as they do in all medical emergencies and this request would not have been denied by any Immigration Officials as they know that if they deny a medical emergency they will be held responsible and liable for their actions. The mother and nurse should also take responsiblity for their actions and they should have said something to someone, anyone and if they did, someone would have done something even to mention it to the airlines employees. To put the blame all other people is unjust, especially when they don't have an M.D. after their name.
Atara Stein

San Diego, CA

#22 Feb 18, 2008
I'm so shocked and appalled I don't really know what to say. No matter what reason Customs had for detaining the baby and his mother, they should have been rushed to the hospital where the baby was to be examined for a possible implant, and *then* they could have checked paperwork to their hearts' content. How does a human being not see that a child's life is so much higher a priority than paperwork that they exist in different dimensions? Did anyone in Customs call the hospital? Clearly not, or they would have been told that the baby needed to be transported there by ambulance immediately. I can't SEE how this can happen. And to think these people are a first line in maintaining our nation's so-called Homeland Security ...

I can't imagine how parents must feel at the unnecessary death of a child--of course there were medical risks, but paperwork risks! I can only feel what must be a fraction of their grief, helplessness, anger, and loss. Maybe winning a lawsuit will help alleviate some of the anger and helplessness, but this grief must tear at them more than the possible loss of the baby in surgery when they knew they'd tried everything possible. My heart goes out to the parents and the baby's siblings. Can you imagine trying to explain *why* this happened to the baby's teenage brother and sister and what do you say to the baby's 3-yr old brother? Baby Michael is now free from the stupidity of this world; his parents and siblings have a long road ahead of them, and all I can wish them is some growing moments of peace as time passes.

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