Part-time model dies from bleeding in the brain

A 28-year-old part-time model was singing in a karaoke lounge with her friends on Dec 12 when her head began to ache and one side of her body went numb suddenly.

Ms Karen Stella Wong was taken to Singapore General Hospital (SGH), where she slipped into a coma and died three days later, Shin Min Daily News reported yesterday.

An only child, she died of acute intracerebral haemorrhage, in which bleeding occurs in the brain.

Ms Wong, a marketing consultant who had modelled for companies like Singtel, did not have any medical history of her condition, her father, Mr Laurence Wong, 60, told The Straits Times yesterday.

"No one in our family has any history of acute intracerebral haemorrhage. Once in a while, she would get a headache like normal people do," said Mr Wong.

"The SGH doctor said that even a common headache could be a symptom, but it is not likely for a doctor to ask a normal person with a headache to go for a scan," he added.

Mr Wong, who works in retail, said he had another shock when the hospital informed him his daughter's organs had to be donated, as stipulated under the Human Organ Transplant Act.

Ms Karen Stella Wong was singing in a karaoke lounge with her friends on Dec 12 when her head began to ache and one side of her body went numb. She fell into a coma in hospital and died three days later. PHOTO: FACEBOOK/ KAREN STELLA

He was not aware of the requirements of the Act, which states that all Singapore citizens and permanent residents older than 21, and who are of sound mind and have not opted out, will have their kidneys, heart, liver and corneas removed when they die.

But this is the case only if they were to die in a hospital, their organs are found suitable for transplant and there are suitable recipients for the organs.

Mr Wong said he struggled initially with the decision. Eventually, he and his wife donated their daughter's liver and both her kidneys.

"I heard they managed to do transplants on three patients. I feel it's a blessing that at least she can help three people," he added.

Ms Wong, who was single, was cremated on Dec 20.

"It's very difficult for me. I cried for two days. But no matter how painful my loss, I told myself I must be strong for my wife and my mother, who does not know (of Ms Wong's death) yet. She does not read newspapers.

"My main worry now is my wife. She was very close to my daughter. They were like sisters. She is staying at a relative's house for the time being."

He said his daughter was a cheerful girl who loved to joke, and hardly gave him any problem.

"I remember her last words to me before she left the house for her night out with her friends.

"She said, 'Daddy, I'm going out', and she continued joking with the maid and my mother as she closed the door."

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on December 27, 2017, with the headline 'Part-time model dies from bleeding in the brain'. Subscribe