A two-year-old child, Wong ZiQin, who was in need of a heart transplant, died on Saturday in Singapore, after a two-week long battle in the hospital.
ZiQin was born with a rare heart condition called Taussig-Bing Syndrome, in which both great vessels are connected to the heart's right ventricle, and usually there is a hole in the heart. This stops the oxygen-rich blood from being pumped enough around the body. ZiQin was recently hospitalised after she suffered from persistent fever and cough. But her heart stopped suddenly and she was put into an induced coma and on life support.
her father Keller Wong said that the family decided to take her off the life support before her blood toxicity rose and her condition deteriorated further.
The Wong family had hoped that she would recover and a mechanical heart could be placed instead of a child heart transplantation. Now the family hopes that ZiQin's story will raise awareness among other people regarding the need for more child organ donors.
"She wasn't the only one; in the hospital we met many other children in the same situation, so we hope things can improve for them," Wong's sister, Megan, told AFP.
A spokesperson of the Singapore Health Ministry said that paediatric heart transplantation is not yet available in Singapore.
Patients aged 16 and below and who weigh above 30 kg can be placed on the national waiting list at the National Heart Centre, Singapore for the adult heart transplantation programme. But ZiQin was too young to get enlisted.
Wong said that her daughter was a friendly child. "Sometimes when she felt you were sad, she would pat you on the back to comfort you," he said.
ZiQin's father plans to set up a support group to help other parents cope with such situations. "I can feel the desperation of other parents... We hope we can inspire others with more stories of ordinary kids showing extraordinary willpower to live on," he added.
Nearly 20 family members gathered at the hospital on Saturday to support the family. Many people who came to know about this incident through social media posts also visited the family in the hospital.
At the one-day wake in Commonwealth Close, ZiQin's mother said: "Her spirit and character really brought people together. She reached so many people and raised awareness. She made a difference."