After experiencing joint pain and high fever for five days, Sow May Yan sought treatment at Tan Tock Seng Hospital on April 7 this year, where she was confirmed to have contracted a severe form of dengue — a viral infection transmitted through mosquitos.
However, her condition took a turn for the worse and the infection brought on serious complications such as acute respiratory distress syndrome, acute kidney injury and acute myocarditis, among other things, Shin Min Daily News reported.
An infectious diseases expert interviewed by the paper added that only about five per cent of patients would develop severe dengue.
According to the World Health Organisation (WHO), complications of severe dengue can include bleeding, organ impairment and plasma leakage. If treatment is delayed, death can result.
In Sow’s case, the 30-year-old ended up spending 22 days in the intensive care unit (ICU), and drifted in and out of a coma for close to three weeks, reported the Chinese evening daily.
Sow, who works as an administrative staff, had arrived in Singapore from Kuala Lumpur five years ago.
Her mother, a 52-year-old housewife, told the paper that besides having contracted COVID-19 last November, her daughter had no known health issues.
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She described how her daughter’s platelet count had dropped dangerously low at one point and “her mouth was full of blood, and her ears and nostrils also kept bleeding.”
She added that Sow was in a comatose state for close to three weeks due to the drugs administered and was unable to consume any food for a month.
The close call has left the family reeling — not just from the severity of Sow’s sudden illness but also from the hefty medical fees involved.
Although Sow is currently on the road to recovery and has since been transferred to a rehabilitation facility, her medical bills continue to mount.
Sow’s parents are retired while Sow earns about $2,000 a month, Shin Min Daily News reported.
According to a Give.Asia page set up by a friend of the family, her medical expenses have crossed $126,000 as of May 17.
The page also stated that Sow’s medical coverage of $15,000 as a foreign worker is insufficient to cover her bill.
A hospital memo endorsing the crowd-funding appeal indicated that Sow, a work permit holder, suffered from severe secondary dengue, which suggests that she could have had contracted dengue before.
Her recovery was also hampered by other infections during her stay in hospital.
In a note to donors, Sow’s dad shared that the “long-term ICU medical treatment” has “greatly impacted” their family’s finances.
Stating that they are “not rich in the first place”, Sow’s father appealed to donors for help.
In a note posted in Chinese, he wrote: “I hope everyone can help me and help my daughter. She’s still young and has a long road ahead of her, but I’m helpless in this situation. I will definitely do my best to pay back to society and I am grateful for all of your kindness.”
This article was first published on AsiaOne and republished on theAsianparent with permission.
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