S'porean steward suffers stroke mid-flight

S'porean steward suffers stroke mid-flight

A Singaporean flight attendant suffered a stroke on a Cathay Pacific Airways flight bound for Frankfurt from Hong Kong last Thursday.

Mr Vincent Chee, who is in his 40s, collapsed while working onboard flight CX289 at 6am, about five hours after the plane took off at 1am.

The plane, which was carrying 252 passengers, was diverted to Urumqi in China's Xinjiang province and landed at about 7.30am, a Cathay Pacific Airways spokesman told The New Paper in response to queries.

Mr Chee, who lives in Hong Kong, received treatment at a hospital in Urumqi.

The flight continued its journey at 9.50am after refuelling and arrived at Frankfurt at 11.20am local time, said the airline's spokesman.

TNP understands that Mr Chee suffered a haemorrhagic stroke, which occurs when a blood vessel ruptures in the brain.

Shortly after suffering his first stroke, Mr Chee had another stroke, putting him in critical condition, reported Hong Kong newspaper Apple Daily.

Mr Chee was later transferred to a hospital in Hong Kong, his brother Chee Woon Keong wrote in a Facebook post on Saturday.

In an earlier Facebook post, the brother appealed for a neurologist to give him advice on his brother's case.

A neurosurgery consultant at JurongHealth, Dr Low Shiong Wen, reached out to him after his wife read the post.

"He wanted to take his brother out of China and I offered to make arrangements should he decide to move him back to Singapore to receive treatment," said Dr Low.

He added that he was not informed of Mr Chee's condition apart from the fact that he was in the intensive care unit.

In the end, Mr Chee's family decided to admit him to a Hong Kong hospital because the flight time from Urumqi to Hong Kong was shorter than to Singapore.

Mr Vincent Chee's wife, former Hong Kong actress and beauty pageant contestant Wong Siu-Foon, told Apple Daily that he was in a coma.

JOGGED DAILY

She said he was health-conscious, jogged daily, and even went through a health screening a few months ago with no issues, so the stroke came as a shock to her.

A consultant neurologist at Mount Elizabeth Medical Centre, Dr Lee Kim En, said treating a stroke could be more challenging when it happens on a flight.

"Treatment at that point is subject to the expertise available, which is limited compared to a hospital setting.

"Also, access to the patient's medical records, which are important in treating him, is not readily available," he said.

Mr Vincent Chee's colleague, who wanted to be known only as Mr Liang, told Apple Daily that the Singaporean joined Cathay Pacific more than 10 years ago. He was hardworking and friendly with a sense of humour, added Mr Liang.

The airline's spokesman said they are providing all necessary assistance for Mr Chee and his family.

When TNP contacted Mr Chee Woon Keong yesterday, he said he could not give any updates on his brother.

Treatment at that point is subject to the expertise available, which is limited compared to a hospital setting. Also, access to the patient's medical records, which are important in treating him, is not readily available.

- Consultant neurologist at Mount Elizabeth Medical Centre, Dr Lee Kim En, on the difficulties of treating a stroke when it happens on a flight

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