Bride-to-be with rare infection dies within 24 hours in SGH, brother sues SGH & 13 doctors

SGH denied his allegations of negligence.

Joshua Lee | December 17, 2018 @ 01:43 pm

A man, Wang Fuyao, wants to sue Singapore General Hospital (SGH) after the hospital allegedly failed to detect that his sister had a fatal case of acute epiglottitis.

Acute epiglottitis is an inflammation of the flap that covers the trachea (windpipe). It is usually caused by bacterial infection.

SGH diagnosed his sister, Wang Yanting, with tonsillitis when she was admitted in 2015. She passed away within 24 hours after going into septic shock.

This was reported in Shin Min Daily News (SMDN) on December 14, 2018.

According to the Chinese daily, Yanting had planned to marry in November 2015. Her brother told the paper that Yanting’s wedding invitations had been sent out.

Yanting and her fiancé had also received their house keys and were getting ready to renovate their house.

However, in August that year, Yanting was admitted into SGH.

Wang told the paper that Yanting had always been healthy.

“Two days before the incident, she was out celebrating with friends. When she returned, she complained that she was feeling chilly and stayed at home the next day.”

The day after, on Aug. 19, Yanting was then struck with a 41-degree fever. Her fiancé wanted to bring her to the hospital after work, but she fainted in the carpark and had to be rushed to the hospital via an ambulance.

“My wife and I rushed to the hospital. We found out that my sister had a 41-degree fever and her white blood cell level was very low. When we were looking after her, we realised that she also had difficulty swallowing her saliva. She couldn’t talk and had difficulty in breathing,” said Wang.

“She was in very bad shape,” he added.

According to Wang, the doctor at SGH said that Yanting was suffering from acute tonsillitis.

However, the next day, on Aug. 20, at 7am, SGH called to say that Yanting was in critical condition. The hospital later transferred her to the intensive care unit (ICU) and started emergency rescue.

Unfortunately, Yanting passed away in the afternoon. The doctors confirmed it was due to a case of acute epiglottitis,

SGH accused of neglect

After going through his sister’s medical report, Wang suspected SGH of neglect.

In particular, Wang alleged the following:

  1. Even though Yanting’s X-ray showed signs of epiglottis, the hospital did not detect it, hence did not provide follow up treatment measures.
  2. SGH hospital records indicated that Yanting had experienced discomfort and difficulty in breathing between 3am and 7am. However, she was not monitored.
  3. Since the hospital already informed the family that Yanting had to be intubated, it showed that they knew she had difficulty in breathing. It was only after more than an hour that the hospital found out Yanting had wheezing and her windpipe was blocked. However, the hospital did not take immediate preventive measures.
  4. When Yanting was diagnosed with septic shock at 7am, she was not immediately transferred into ICU.
  5. While SGH’s hospital records indicated early on that she needed an ENT doctor, she wasn’t given one until much later when her condition worsened.

Condition not easy to diagnose

According to an ENT (ear-nose-throat) doctor that SMDN spoke to, acute epiglottitis is not easy to diagnose because of its common symptoms like fever and sore throat.

“However, if the patient displays symptoms like wheezing, or difficulty in breathing, swallowing, and talking, most ENT doctors should immediately consider the possibility of acute epiglottitis and administer first aid,” he told the paper.

He added that acute epiglottitis should not be fatal if there are preventive measures and and close attention paid. However, he also qualified that the condition can be fatal if there are other factors involved.

Family distressed

Wang told SMDN that his sister’s passing greatly distressed his parents. It was the first time he ever saw his father cry. Wang’s mother also sank into depression .

Wang’s wife, Mdm Chen Yiling told SMDN that her mother-in-law’s personality changed completely. Her attitude became more violent, and she cried every morning. She later realised she had a psychological issue.

Mdm Chen told the paper that unfortunately, the patriarch of the family, Mr Huang, passed away from a stroke last year.

SGH’s response

In response, SGH clarified that the post-mortem results show that Yanting’s death was due to natural causes, and no inquiry was needed.

Wang provided a letter from the hospital which explained that the early signs of epiglottitis in the X-ray were not conclusive. The hospital also performed a nasal endoscopy and found no blockage in her windpipe.

The hospital also said that Yanting was constantly supervised. Her condition was also constantly reviewed by the hospital staff.

When the hospital reviewed Yanting’s condition on the morning after she was admitted, they found that she was awake and could respond. There was no wheezing, no blockage of her windpipe, and her lung were normal.

However, the hospital intubated her in case there was a possible need for intensive care. Her condition worsened later in the day and the hospital proceeded to carry out emergency rescue.

SGH also added that it carried other treatments during Yanting’s stay in the hospital, and that an ENT doctor saw her in a timely fashion.

Top photo via Wikipedia. 


Content that keeps Mothership.sg going

We all love WhatsApp chain messages – and there’s more to come because grandmas are getting techier.

You might wanna read this analysis if you’re having a secret santa gift exchange.

Help a Karang Guni man clear his stock of retro items by visiting his online store.

Eat, pray, love, and more with this new app.

👦 👧
Kids teach us the darndest things – which actually make sense.

About Joshua Lee

Josh has found the perfect Nasi Padang combination. Ask him about it.

Morning Commute

Interesting stories to discuss with your colleagues in office later