Who Will Tell This Mother What Hap­pened To Her Baby’s Body?

The Star (St. Lucia) - - COMMENT - Keryn Nel­son

When Molly Arthur reached out to this re­porter on Tues­day this week, she had just re­ceived the lat­est word on the death at birth of her baby, a death that she and her hus­band con­sider sus­pi­cious. In 2015 the two had un­ac­count­ably lost their baby dur­ing de­liv­ery at Vic­to­ria Hos­pi­tal. Af­ter sev­eral in­quiries that went nowhere, the Arthurs were di­rected to Ram­bally’s Fu­neral Par­lour but the cou­ple in­sisted that the foe­tus they were shown had noth­ing to do with them. They in­sisted on a DNA test to set­tle the is­sue.

Molly says that on two sep­a­rate oc­ca­sions ap­point­ments were made and sub­se­quently post­poned with­out ad­e­quate rea­son. But fol­low­ing pub­lished de­tails of her or­deal in the July 7 and 14 is­sues of this news­pa­per, and a let­ter to the rev­e­lant par­ties from the at­tor­ney gen­eral, DNA tests were con­ducted on Au­gust 14 at Vic­to­ria Hos­pi­tal. That day Molly and her hus­band Ben once again vis­ited the hos­pi­tal, only to re­ceive more dis­turb­ing news. A doc­tor in­formed them that the test could not be con­ducted be­cause their baby’s body had al­ready been dis­posed of. He claimed a let­ter had ear­lier been sent to the cou­ple re­quest­ing “we come and claim the body”.

By Molly’s ac­count: “We rushed to see the par­lia­men­tary com­mis­sioner but she was not in of­fice. Nei­ther was the health min­is­ter Mary Isaac; she was not in of­fice. We went to see the at­tor­ney gen­eral but couldn’t be­cause he was on va­ca­tion.”

Later in the day she re­ceived a call back from the par­lia­men­tary com­mis­sioner, Ms Rosemary Hus­bands-Mathurin. She pre­sented Molly with a copy of a let­ter ad­dressed to Ms. Arthur from Ram­bally’s Fu­neral Par­lour, dated May 14, 2018, in­form­ing her of stor­age charges in­clud­ing VAT. The let­ter also gave the cou­ple four­teen days to re­move their baby’s body from the com­pany’s premises, oth­er­wise they would dis­pose of it.

The com­mis­sioner could not say when her of­fice re­ceived the copy of the par­lour’s let­ter. “The mat­ter is con­fi­den­tial,” she said. When asked how the govern­ment would in­ter­vene, this re­porter was ad­vised to speak with the at­tor­ney gen­eral. All ef­forts by the STAR to reach the AG for com­ment proved fu­tile.

Molly con­firmed Ram­bally’s at­tempts to reach her by let­ter. She ac­knowl­edged a call from a po­lice of­fi­cer let­ting her know he had a let­ter in her name. She sup­plied the of­fi­cer with her ad­dress. How­ever, ac­cord­ing to Molly, “at the time they sent the let­ter, in May, I could not ac­cept it be­cause the state al­ready had said they would take over the body. I never took the let­ter.”

She con­firmed that the of­fi­cer read to her what the let­ter said. She lis­tened, and then, “I closed my door.” Why? She did not like the way she had been treated by the au­thor­i­ties. “The govern­ment had al­ready given the okay, that they’re tak­ing li­a­bil­ity.”

Did Ram­bally’s Fu­neral Par­lour know of her ar­range­ments with the govern­ment? Molly sniffed: “That’s between the govern­ment and Ram­bally’s. That’s not our job to go and tell them.” Her hus­band added: “Our job is to find our body.”

When I sought fur­ther com­ment from Ram­bally’s, I was di­rected to the com­pany’s lawyer Vandyke Jude. He said: “I drafted a let­ter which was sent to this lady to say, ‘Lis­ten, we have a re­spon­si­bil­ity in law to mit­i­gate our dam­ages. We un­der­stand that you have sev­eral ques­tions and sev­eral un­re­solved is­sues about the sit­u­a­tion. We are invit­ing you to take the body to do what­ever tests you need to have done on the body be­cause 14 days from now we are go­ing to fol­low pro­ce­dure and we are go­ing to bury the child.’ We sent that let­ter by per­sonal ser­vice to her. My un­der­stand­ing is that she re­ceived the let­ter. The fact that she de­cided not to open the let­ter or ig­nore it is en­tirely her busi­ness. As far as we are con­cerned we fol­lowed all the proper pro­ce­dures and all the proper pro­to­cols.”

When asked whether they knew the body was now “in the hands of the state”, Jude added, “I dis­pute any li­a­bil­ity on be­half of Ram­bally, I am not in a po­si­tion to dis­cuss or to com­ment on any govern­ment li­a­bil­ity. You’ll have to take that up with who­ever rep­re­sents the govern­ment.”

As for Molly, she says she is seek­ing an­swers. Her fi­nal words, “the govern­ment has to step for­ward and tell us what is go­ing on!”

In 2015 Molly and Bene­dict Arthur lost their new­born son un­der what they con­sider “sus­pi­cious cir­cum­stances”. Now, they say they were re­cently hit with an­other dev­as­tat­ing of­fi­cial curve ball.

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