Double heart transplant girl dies

BATU PAHAT - Miracle girl Tee Hui Yi, who underwent a double heart transplant in 2007, has died.

The 19-year-old, who had survived with a mechanical heart before the two transplants, died at the Batu Pahat Hospital at 10.02am yesterday the day she was to have started work as a kindergarten teacher.

Hui Yi captured the imagination of the nation when she successfully underwent a second heart transplant within 24 hours on Oct 5, with the media headlining her story.

The first heart transplant failed but, miraculously, another one became available just then and, this time, her body accepted the heart.

Yesterday, she complained of back and chest pains at about 7am but refused to go to hospital for treatment, her mother, Dina Bato Sam Bua, said.

"She asked me to make her some toasted bread and Horlicks but she only ate one slice and vomited the rest. She made me promise to make her favourite mee suah for her next birthday (on Oct 5).

"Then she said she wanted to rest for a while. The next moment her whole body went stiff," Dina told reporters at the Chinese funeral parlour in Jalan Fatimah here.

"I tried to press her chest and perform CPR (cardio-pulmonary resuscitation) but nothing worked," said, Dina, 52.

Her husband, Ah Soon, 57, also tried to resuscitate their youngest child but to no avail.

"We rushed her to hospital but doctors pronounced her dead half an hour later," Dina added.

(Hui Yi's birthday is March 14 but the family decided to change the date to Oct 5 to mark the day that she was "reborn" after the second transplant.)

Dina fainted for a few minutes at the parlour and had to be helped by relatives.

She and her husband, two sons and daughter had looked shocked when reporters approached them.

Clutching a photgraph of Hui Yi, the distraught Dina screamed: "I want my daughter."

Ah Soon said: "When we knew that Hui Yi was gone, we asked the doctor to save her organs and donate them but he told us that it was too late."

He said he was grateful to the heart donors who gave his daughter new leases on life and was disappointed that Hui Yi's organs could not be saved.

Ah Soon added: "Hui Yi was supposed to start work at a nearby kindergarten today (yesterday) and was so excited about her new job.

"Now, we can only hold on to memories of our cheerful daughter."

Hui Yi stopped schooling after Year Four when her health deteriorated and was supported by a mechanical heart while waiting for a transplant.

She underwent her first heart transplant on Oct 4, 2007 but her body rejected the organ and she had to undergo another transplant the next day.

IJN, the National Heart Institute, conveyed its condolences to the family of Hui Yi, who had been fondly known as "the mechanical heart girl".

MCA president Datuk Seri Dr Chua Soi Lek, who was the Health Minister at the time, expressed sadness at her passing.

"I would like to offer my condolences to her family. We feel sad as she had gone through so much and finally had a successful heart transplant," he said.

"She can be described as a tough survivor and fought until the very end." "She can be described as a tough survivor and fought until the very end."