Woman who died after trekking in Indonesia had stroke symptoms

Ms Lisa Orsi, seen here in a Facebook photo, collapsed on Feb 20 and died 12 days later.

It was supposed to be a fun hiking trip in Indonesia for the six women.

But the holiday became a nightmare when one of the women collapsed in their hostel on Feb 20.

Within just seven hours, Ms Lisa Frances Orsi was transferred from a clinic to two hospitals before being air-evacuated to Singapore four days later.

Ms Orsi, 22, an Irish national who was a physiotherapist at Bright Vision Hospital, died at the Singapore General Hospital (SGH) on March 4.

In a coroner's inquiry into her death yesterday, the court heard that on Feb 18, Ms Orsi took a flight to East Java for a hiking trip at Mount Bromo, an active volcano.

At the Surabaya airport, she met up with five friends including Ms Emma Louise O'Loughlin, 23, Ms Megan Ann O'riordan, 24, and Ms Stephanie Cowles.

The six friends checked into the Cafe Lava Hostel, located about 2,300m above sea level.

At around 3.30am the next day, the group took a 40-minute jeep ride to the 2,600m-high Kingkong Hill, a viewing point that overlooks the Mount Bromo crater.

From there, they went down to the volcano crater, where they spent an hour sightseeing and taking photos.

They returned to the hostel for breakfast before going back to their rooms to rest but met again at about 3pm to explore the area around the hostel.

Investigation officer (IO) Inspector (Insp) Chia Hong Kai said: "Stephanie noticed that (Ms Orsi) was blowing her nose a lot and very strongly and (was) complaining about an earache.

"She also remembers (Ms Orsi) complaining of feeling physically tired and winded."

As they were walking uphill back to their hostel, Ms O'Loughlin noticed that Ms Orsi was panting and her face was flushed.


The next day, when Ms Orsi did not show up for breakfast, Ms O'riordan went to check on her and found her lying on her back. Ms O'riordan and two friends took Ms Orsi to a nearby clinic.

There, nurses gave Ms Orsi oxygen and placed her on an IV drip.

As there was a lack of personnel and equipment there, the women decided to transfer her to a hospital.

Insp Chia told State Coroner Marvin Bay: "Along the journey, Emma noticed (Ms Orsi) exhibiting stroke symptoms... as if she was having a seizure."

A doctor suggested that they take her to Siloam Hospital to receive neurological treatment.

On the way there, Ms Orsi vomited twice.

At Siloam Hospital, a CT scan revealed that her brain had swelled. By then, she was fully unconscious.

Her family members were contacted and they arrived on Feb 22.

Ms Orsi was air-evacuated to Singapore two days later and was immediately put on mechanical ventilation when she reached SGH in the wee hours of Feb 25.

She died a week later.

A Sunday Times report on March 8 stated that her organs, including her kidneys, skin and corneas were donated.

Her father, Mr Dennis Orsi, had said: "From when she was young, she had been an advocate of organ donation. We have an opt-in system (in Northern Ireland) and she said that if anything bad happened, it would be her wish."

In her autopsy report, consultant forensic pathologist Dr Marian Wang said that Ms Orsi's final cause of death was hypoxic ischaemic encephalopathy, or brain damage caused by lack of oxygen and blood flow to the brain.

"While the exact cause of (Ms Orsi's) initial collapse cannot be determined, there is evidence to suggest that her death resulted from the lack or adequate supply of oxygen to the brain and the absence of timely medical care and attention," said Insp Chia.

Coroner Bay will deliver his findings on Sept 22.

This article was first published on September 3, 2015.
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