Teen dies in his sleep

SINGAPORE - A fourth-year student at ACS (International) went to bed in his dormitory on Friday, Sept 21, but could not be woken up the next day.

The 16-year-old Vietnamese boy had died in his sleep at Oldham Hall.

Speaking to The New Paper, ACS International's principal, Mr P. Kerr Fulton-Peebles, said the whole school was shocked by the news.

"I had just flown back from London (UK) when I was informed. We were all very saddened," he said.

Declining to give the boy's name, Mr Fulton-Peebles said he "did not have any prior indication he had medical issues."

He added: "He had not been ill and his death came as a complete shock."

Known as "Son" to his schoolmates, he was described by them as an introvert and fantastic at physics.

Said a student who declined to be named: "Everyone was quite sad after hearing the news, especially people who had classes with him,"

The boy's parents flew in from Vietnam the same day they were notified of his death A cardiologist, Dr Soon Chao Yang, told TNP that deaths which occur during sleep are likely to be connected to abnormalities of the heart.

The medical director of Nobel Heart Centre said one possible cause could be a genetic disease, known as Brugada syndrome.

The condition disrupts the heart's electric activity without warning and is the most common cause of sudden death in young men in South-east Asia, particularly in Thailand and Laos, said Dr Soon.

Mysterious death

He said: "You can be fit or healthy and it can still happen to you. It is sometimes known as 'nightmare death syndrome' because it seems like the person died mysteriously."

Dr Soon said that a defibrillator could be implanted to deliver an electric shock to the heart should abnormalities surface in the night, "but sadly, the condition goes undetected most of the time".

Mr Fulton-Peebles said the students were told of the death last Monday and that an interim newsletter to parents was sent through e-mail to inform them last Tuesday.

In the message Mr Fulton-Peebles said that he, the chaplain, the vice-principals and staff from Oldham Hall met the boy's parents when they flew here to be with their son.

He said the school has set up counselling arrangements for all those who might wish to talk about their feelings.

"We will also hold a memorial service later to remember him and celebrate his life," added MrFulton-Peebles.

"I am sure we would all wish to hold the family in our thoughts and prayers at a time when they will feel utterly bereft."

The boy's parents have taken his body back to Vietnam for the funeral.

Get The New Paper for more stories.