Two NS trainees die of illnesses, another still in coma

By The Star

KUALA LUMPUR: Two National Service trainees died in the past four days of different causes and at separate hospitals.

Mohamad Zulhaili Noraihan, 17, died of meningoencephalitis (bacterial infection of the brain) at the Queen Elizabeth Hospital on Tuesday. The Kuala Lumpur boy had reported for training at the Wawasan Papar camp in Sabah on Jan 2.

A medical form prior to his entry to the camp had stated that he was being treated for nephrotic syndrome and that he suffered from gastric and kidney problems and had previously suffered from head injuries.

“He was treated initially at a clinic at the camp on Jan 24 for a pain in the ear and also on Feb 10 for fever and headache,” said NS Department director-general Datuk Abdul Hadi Awang Kechil last night.

He said the boy was then referred to Papar district hospital when his headache did not ease off, adding that he was subsequently sent to the Queen Elizabeth Hospital.

Apparently, he had developed fever after swimming with friends in a pond at the camp.

In another case, Fatini Aqilah Fadhil died of neutropenic sepsis (leukaemia) at the Raja Permaisuri Bainun Hospital in Ipoh last Sunday.

Fatini, 17, was based at the Chenderiang camp in Tapah starting Jan 2.

“She was given a Chinese New Year break like other trainees from Feb 2 to Feb 6,” Abdul Hadi said.

However, the girl was admitted to the intensive care unit at Taiping Hospital on Feb 7.

At the PDS Resort camp in Port Dickson, where NS trainee A. Tamilarasi fell into a coma due to high fever, spokesman Mej Mohd Rafee Zain said the authorities did not refer her to the hospital as her condition had not been serious.

“She was still able to attend all the programmes. Our medical staff examined her thoroughly to ensure she was able to undergo training,” he said, adding that the camp authorities were not negligent in not referring her to a government clinic or hospital.

“We always have medical officers who examine trainees showing signs of being ill. When she was here, her condition was not serious enough to warrant her being sent for treatment outside the camp,” he said.

Tamilarasi is fighting for her life at the Tuanku Ja’afar Hospital intensive care unit where she has been warded since Feb 8.

Mej Mohd Rafee said that when Tamilarasi did not return to the camp after the five-day break on Feb 7, the camp authorities called her father who said a private clinic had given her seven days’ medical leave. She slipped into a coma the next day.

Yesterday, Tamilarasi’s father K. Anandan, 39, said doctors had told him that the girl might require dialysis and minor surgeries.

“They (doctors) are almost certain that she must have contracted an illness during training,” he said.