Comatose Singaporean dies after medical evacuation from Tokyo

A Singaporean man who was medically evacuated from Tokyo, where he had suffered a heart attack, died shortly after arriving in Singapore yesterday.

Mr Jimi Cheong, 62, had slipped into a coma after a cardiac arrest last week during a family holiday in Japan to celebrate his wife's cancer remission.

The logistics manager, who was diagnosed with heart failure in 2012, was then admitted to Toho University Omori Medical Centre, where he was placed on mechanical support.

His daughter Eileen Cheong, at her wits' end on how to bring her father back to Singapore, turned to crowdfunding.

In her plea on Give.Asia, the 25-year-old said a successful claim under her father's travel insurance was unlikely as it did not cover pre-existing conditions.

The family had enough to cover only the first night of Mr Cheong's hospitalisation, and help from relatives would - at best - only cover existing hospital bills.

Within days, Ms Cheong raised the $250,000 she had asked for to pay her father's medical bills and fly him home.

On Sunday, after doctors assessed that Mr Cheong was in a stable condition and fit for air travel, Ms Cheong arranged for an emergency evacuation with medical assistance company EMA Global.

"His vitals had remained stable since, throughout the flight back home," she wrote in an update on Give.Asia yesterday.

But after they arrived at Seletar Airport and were on their way to the hospital, Mr Cheong's heart condition suddenly deteriorated.

"Thank you for bringing my father back to Singapore, thank you for allowing us to say our final goodbyes on home ground." - Ms Eileen Cheong

He died shortly after.

In the update, Ms Cheong wrote: "Even though we were aware of the unpredictability of his condition, his passing still comes as a shock to my family.

"Despite all of this, we are grateful he still made it back home eventually."


She thanked everyone who made the medical evacuation possible, from the donors to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs.

"Thank you for bringing my father back to Singapore, thank you for allowing us to say our final goodbyes on home ground.

"And thank you, to my relatives and close friends, who have been by my side throughout.

"This is an extremely difficult time for my mum and me, and we will really appreciate all the space and privacy we can get to come to terms with the loss of my father and to make the necessary arrangements," she wrote.

Further updates on how the donations have been used, and what the family will do with any excess funds, will be provided on Give.Asia, she added.

This article was first published on May 03, 2017.
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