Wednesday, January 21, 2009

2nd RI Boy Dies in A Week

A SECOND student from Raffles Institution has died within the week, The New Paper reported on Wednesday.

Cao Yuanchi, 14, died of a brain haemorrhage caused by acute myeloid leukaemia - or cancer of the blood - on Sunday. Last week, Tee Yan Chyuan, 12, a Secondary 1 student at RI died suddenly after a game of badminton with his sister.

Like Yan Chyuan, Yuanchi had always been healthy and had never shown any signs of illness, said his father, Mr Cao Sheng Fa.

'He hardly fell sick, and he was very fit - he would regularly take 8km runs in our neighbourhood, ' Mr Cao, 42, told The New Paper.

Described as an active boy, he completed the Outward Bound School (OBS) course, a cross-country run recently and even climbed a mountain in China.

So it was a shock to both the family and the school when he was hospitalised, after he started complaining of fatigue following a five-day OBS programme on Jan 9. Three days later, he developed a low-grade fever. The next day, Mr Cao noticed that Yuanchi's legs were covered with small purplish specks. That same evening, Yuanchi's right eye become swollen and discoloured.

Yuanchi was warded at KK Women's and Children's Hospital, where he was diagnosed with leukaemia. Said Mr Cao: 'It was something we found very difficult to accept.'

Mr Cao said doctors advised him on the treatment options but that could only be done after infection had cleared.

But last Friday night, Yuanchi's condition took a turn for the worse. He began vomiting violently and later complained of a severe headache. By the time the doctor got to him, Yuanchi was unable to move his limbs. A CT scan later revealed that Yuanchi suffered massive bleeding in the brain. He was transferred, unconscious to the hospital's intensive care unit where he died last Sunday, said TNP.

A spokesman for RI said the school had taken steps for help Yuanchi's friends cope with the death of their classmate. The spokesman said: 'Yuanchi was very much part of the Raffles family, and teachers and students and deeply saddened by his passing.'
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