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