A 28-year-old freelance model in Singapore met a tragic end after she experienced numbness in half her body along with a headache while singing karaoke at a lounge on December 12.
Karen Stella Wong was taken to the Singapore General Hospital (SGH) where she fell into a coma. Ms. Wong died three days later and Shin Min Daily News reports that she donated both her kidneys and her liver.
Her exact cause of death was confirmed Tuesday by her father, Laurence Wong, who says his doctors certified his daughter's cause of death as acute intracerebral hemorrhage which is essentially bleeding in the skull.
Ms. Wong was a seemingly otherwise healthy individual who worked as a marketing consulting and did freelance modeling on the side for companies like telecommunications giant Singtel.
Her father confirmed that Ms. Wong had no prior medical history and was just out singing with her friends. "My family has no history of acute intracerebral hemorrhage. Once in a while, she got a headache like normal people do," Mr. Wong said.
"The SGH doctor said that even a common headache could be a symptom, but no doctor would ask a normal guy with a headache to go for a scan." Mr. Wong was surprised to learn that his daughter was required by law to donate her kidneys, hearts, livers, and corneas after death since she had not opted out.
The Human Organ Transplant Act, first enacted in 1987, says that all Singapore citizens and permanent residents over age 21 that are of sound mind and who have not opted out will have their organs removed after death if they died in a hospital. Mr. Wong says he and his wife initially struggled with the idea but eventually donated her two kidneys and liver.
"I heard they managed to do transplants on three patients, and I feel it's a blessing that at least she can save three people," her father said. "My main worry now is my wife. They were like sisters. How is she going to handle it? I put her up in a relative's house for the time being."
Mr. Wong went on to say, "It's very difficult for me. I cried for two days. No matter what, I told myself I must be strong for my wife and my mother. My mother does not know yet. She does not read newspapers. She didn't give me many problems, I just recall the last moment she left the house - she said 'daddy I'm going out', and she was still joking with the maid and my mother."
That was the last time he spoke with his daughter. Ms. Wong was cremated on December 20.
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