Chopper rescue couldn't save ill French Polynesia baby - doctor

10:41 am on 11 October 2019

A senior doctor in French Polynesia says the use of a helicopter would not have saved the life of a three-month-old baby who died from a lung infection in the Marquesas Islands.

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Photo: 123RF

The infant's death during an attempted medivac to Tahiti has prompted an inquiry by the government after a public outcry.

The head of the medical service has told Radio1 that unfortunately illnesses in the outer islands are at times too far advanced by the time help is being sought.

Vincent Simon said the rescue efforts in the child's case were appropriate as a helicopter could not have been quicker than the plane dispatched.

This case was particularly terrible because it was a young child, he said.

An open speedboat was used to ferry the young patient from Ua Pou to the main Marquesas island of Nuku Hiva from where the child was to be flown to Tahiti.

However, the three-month-old died in hospital shortly after arriving in Nuku Hiva.

Hundreds of people on Ua Pou joined a march in support of the victim's family.