Woman seeks answers to son's dengue death at welfare facility

KUALA LUMPUR - A single mother is demanding answers from a Petaling Jaya Welfare Home after her mentally challenged son succumbed to dengue while under their care.

Chok Siew Kin, whose six-year-old son Boon Hao was pronounced dead on arrival at a private hospital on Feb 18, wants authorities to investigate the home over negligence.

"I still don't know what happened to my son," said Chok, 43, who spoke to reporters during a press conference organised by MCA Public Complaints Bureau chief Datuk Seri Michael Chong.

Chok, who earned a living selling DVDs at night markets, had left Boon Hao at the Chempaka Welfare Home, which charged her no fees, in December last year.

Chok said she was informed by the home's caretaker that Boon Hao had a fever and was taken to the doctor on Feb 17.

But the next day she received a frantic telephone call from other children at the home who said Boon Hao was taken to hospital.

She immediately rushed there only to find out that he had died.

She lodged a police report over the incident on March 14 and sought Chong's assistance.

MCA has provided two lawyers, James Ee and Alex PC Kok, to help Chok get answers.

When contacted, the Petaling Jaya police said they found no element of negligence in the case.

They advised Chok to take her grievances to court if she was still dissatisfied with the home.

The Buddhist society which runs the home will be issuing a statement on the matter today.

The home's caretaker said Boon Hao's death had greatly affected her.

"His mother is angry at me. I don't blame her. I have two kids of my own. If this happened to them I would feel the same, too. I have to let her be angry at me.

"I cared for Boon Hao. I brushed his teeth in the morning and packed his food and sent him to school.

"When he was sick, I would touch his forehead every mor­ning to see how he is. I took him to three doctors, all of them gave him medicine and sent him home. They didn't take his blood so they didn't know he had dengue," she told The Star.

The woman, who cares for 14 other children at the welfare home, said Boon Hao had been under her care for about three months.

She added that this was the first time a child had contracted dengue under her care.

The woman, whose name is being withheld, said the police and Health Ministry officials checked the home after Boon Hao's death but did not raise any health risk issues.

The woman said the child had difficulty communicating with her due to his mental illness but he was a cheerful and well-behaved boy.