Drowned Japanese girl: Her death gives hope to others

SINGAPORE - Japanese toddler Hanano Oyama may have died, but she continues to live on in two others.

A drowning accident on June 29 had left the 1½-year-old girl brain dead.

Her parents decided to donate her organs and at 3am Monday, doctors harvested both kidneys and her heart valves.

This makes Hanano Singapore's youngest organ donor.

The New Paper understands that both her kidneys went to a child with congenital kidney disease. The transplant was carried out at the National University Hospital.

Her heart valves also went to another child, believed to be at KK Women's and Children's Hospital.

Both hospitals declined comment, citing patient confidentiality.

Her father, systems consultant Norimichi Oyama, 33, was posted to Singapore two years ago and brought the family along.

Poolside party

Speaking to Shin Min Daily News, Mr Oyama said it all happened within 10 minutes two Saturdays ago.

They were at a poolside party in Rivergate condominium near Robertson Quay when Hanano went missing.

She was later found in the swimming pool. By then, the toddler had been underwater for 10 minutes.

Hanano was taken to the Singapore General Hospital but was already brain dead.

With heavy hearts, her parents decided to donate her organs when doctors declared her legally brain dead on Sunday.

Her organs were harvested at 3am on Monday and sent to the respective hospitals for transplanting.

Despite the family's loss, Mr Oyama said he was happy Hanano was able to help others in need.

Holding back his tears, Mr Oyama described his daughter as a very active child.

"Everyone loved her, even the teachers at her nursery. They came to the hospital to visit her," he said.

A Ministry of Health spokesman told The New Paper: "Oyama Hanano is the youngest solid organ donor in Singapore to date."

From 2004 to the present, there is an average of one to two foreign deceased donors in Singapore per year. This is the first case of a Japanese paediatric deceased organ donor in Singapore, said the spokesman.

Prior to this case, three-year-old Joe Daniel Jacob, who died in similar circumstances, was the youngest donor.

Daniel drowned in August 2011 when his parents took their attention off him while attending a poolside barbecue at their condominium in Simei.

Daniel's kidneys were given to a then 11-year-old girl whose kidneys had failed. His corneas went to two different adults. One had an ulcer on the cornea, leaving him close to losing his sight.

Hanano was cremated on Monday and her ashes will be taken back to Japan.

juditht@sph.com.sg


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