A 28-year-old freelance model was singing in a karaoke lounge with her friends on Dec 12 when she suddenly felt numbness in half her body, along with a headache.
Ms Karen Stella Wong was taken to the Singapore General Hospital (SGH), where she went into a coma and died three days later. She donated both her kidneys and her liver.
Her father Laurence Wong told The Straits Times on Tuesday that doctors certified her cause of death as acute intracerebral haemorrhage, where bleeding occurs within the skull.
Ms Wong, a marketing consultant who did freelance modelling on the side such as for telecommunications company Singtel, did not die because of singing in a too-high-pitched voice as reported by Chinese-language newspapers, he added.
Mr Wong, who works in retail, told ST that she had no known medical history and was just on a night out singing with friends.
“My family has no history of acute intracerebral haemorrhage. Once in a while she got a headache like normal people do,” said the 60-year-old. “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.”
He said he was surprised when told that Ms Wong, who was single, had to donate her organs under the law.
Under the Human Organ Transplant Act, first enacted in 1987, all Singapore citizens and permanent residents above the age of 21, of sound mind and who have not opted out, will have their kidneys, hearts, livers and corneas removed upon their death if they died in a hospital, their organs are suitable for transplant and there are suitable recipients for the organs.
He struggled with the idea at first. However, he and his wife 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,” said Mr Wong.
Ms Wong was cremated on Dec 20. An only child, she was very close to her mother.
“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,” he said.
“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.”
Mr Wong said his daughter was a cheerful girl who loved to joke.
“She didn’t give me much problems,” he said. “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.”