Boy meets doc who helped him in plane

Boy meets doc who helped him in plane

A family holiday to Southern France ended in a hospital in Romania for Mr Christophe Cabibel and his wife Mandy last Monday, when their toddler passed out on the flight home.

Yesterday, in their home in Pender Road, the couple met Dr Low Lee Yong, who helped save 21/2-year- old Adam on the KLM flight, for the first time since the incident.

"It felt like something from the movies; it felt unreal," Mrs Cabibel, a Mandarin tutor, told The Sunday Times, recounting what happened in the air. "When Dr Low took my baby, I dared not watch what he was doing. I was so scared."

Around an hour into the flight, the 43-year-old mother had heard a loud tapping sound. Thinking that her youngest son was up to mischief, she turned to her right, only to realise that he was having a convulsion. When he passed out, she thought the worst - that he had died.

But seconds after calling for help, Dr Low, who was also on KL835 with his wife, rushed to perform first aid. Adam had suffered a febrile fit, which commonly occurs in children aged six and below when their temperature reaches 38.5 deg C or more.

After half an hour of sponging to lower his temperature, Adam came to and the plane made an unscheduled landing in Bucharest, Romania. There, two ambulances were waiting, said Mr Cabibel.

"Some passengers even gave us coats when we left the plane. We were not dressed for minus 15 deg C weather," added the 48-year-old managing director of the Asian division in a mining company. "They gave us coats for the kids, from their own children. They were very kind."

It was around 2am when Adam was admitted to Grigore Alexandrescu hospital in Bucharest.

"I think Adam was shocked, but he is too young to talk," Mrs Cabibel said. "The next day, his fever went down and he was fine. For the whole day, he played in the ward.

"The day after, we left the hospital," she added and on Jan 6, they left Romania for home.

Mr Cabibel had been visiting family in southern France with his wife and their two sons. Their connecting flight back to Singapore took off from Amsterdam.

"I think we were extremely lucky that a doctor was nearby," said Mrs Cabibel. "My husband said we must find this doctor when we came back. But I couldn't even remember what he looked like."

They found Dr Low on Facebook after learning his name from The Straits Times' report of the incident. "I was pleasantly surprised that they managed to locate me," said Dr Low, 52, founder of MHC Asia Group, which manages a network of over 1,200 clinics in Singapore.

Last November, the father of two saved another toddler from drowning at Temasek Club in Rifle Range Road.

"I didn't get to meet the boy from Temasek Club again, which was a bit disappointing," he said. "It's always good to see how they are doing when they get better," said Dr Low, whom Adam and his four-year-old brother Louis quickly warmed to.


Mrs Cabibel said she hopes to meet the other two doctors who tried to help her family on the plane. "There are many good people in this world."

This article was first published on Jan 17, 2016.
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