SINGAPORE: According to the Singapore Civil Defence Force (SCDF), the student from Singapore Sports School, who passed away after feeling unwell during a fitness trial, was taken to the National University Hospital (NUH) as per medical protocol.
As reported by CNA on Tuesday (Oct 24), SCDF explained that NUH, equipped with pediatric emergency medical facilities, was the most timely option at the moment.
This clarification was in response to inquiries questioning why 14-year-old Pranav Madhaik was not taken to Khoo Teck Puat Hospital, which was closer to the school in Woodlands.
Pranav’s parents are navigating through their grief, besieged with unanswered questions, and advocating for more robust safety and emergency medical systems within the institution.
The selection of NUH, situated significantly farther from the school as compared to Khoo Teck Puat Hospital, and the absence of immediate, on-site medical intervention have become focal points of their concerns.
The SCDF provided a timeline of events, stating that they received a call for help around 6.50 pm on Oct 5. The incident occurred after the boy, who was a part of the school’s badminton academy, reported feeling unwell following a 400m fitness time trial.
Upon their arrival at approximately 7 pm, the SCDF found the Secondary 2 student lying on the ground along a running track.
A paramedic promptly attended to Pranav, who was conscious and able to converse normally at the time.
“Pranav’s vital signs including heart rate and blood oxygen level were assessed to be stable when he was carried into the ambulance,” said SCDF.
“However, as Pranav’s blood pressure was low and he was feeling breathless, the ambulance crew administered oxygen to him and guided him to regulate his breathing. The crew also lifted his legs to improve his blood circulation.”
Around 7.20 pm, Pranav’s blood pressure showed improvement, “In line with the Ministry of Health’s and SCDF’s medical protocol for stable patients under 16 years old, Pranav was conveyed to National University Hospital, as it is equipped with paediatric emergency medical facilities.”
While KK Women’s and Children’s Hospital also has pediatric emergency medical facilities, SCDF noted that travel to NUH was faster during that time. Additionally, Khoo Teck Puat Hospital lacked such facilities.
During the transport to NUH, the ambulance crew noticed the boy becoming drowsy.
“The paramedic immediately alerted NUH on the patient’s condition and to be on standby to receive the patient. The ambulance arrived at the hospital at about 7.35pm and Pranav was handed over to the hospital emergency team who was on standby to receive him,” SCDF added.
Earlier, an investigation conducted by Singapore Sports School (SSP) into the unexpected death of Pranav Madhaik revealed a significant safety lapse, highlighting a critical oversight by his badminton coach who failed to ensure his well-being prior to leaving the track.
This was revealed in SSP’s press release of its investigation findings, released on 14 October.
Subsequent to the investigation, the coach has been served a notice of dismissal, and the incident has propelled the school into a comprehensive review of its safety and emergency response protocols.
A timeline of tragedy and oversight
SSP has detailed the sequence of events leading up to the tragic passing of Pranav.
- October 5, 2023, 1826hrs: Pranav completed a 400m fitness time trial as part of the routine training at the SSP Badminton academy. Upon completion, he reported feeling unwell to his badminton coach.
- Between 1826hrs and 1835hrs: Pranav was instructed to rest by the side of the starting point as the coach attended to other duties, leaving him unattended. Pranav interacted with two other groups of student-athletes, who did not notice anything unusual with him.
- Approximately 1840hrs: A Track and Field coach found Pranav still resting at the side of the track. Recognizing Pranav’s distress, he initiated help – sending a student-athlete to fetch water and subsequently cold water per Pranav’s request.
- 1845hrs: Observing that Pranav could not stand even with assistance, the Track and Field coach activated the school’s Boarding staff for aid.
- 1850hrs: An ambulance was called.
- 1853hrs: Boarding staff contacted Pranav’s parents.
- 1902hrs: The ambulance arrived and Pranav was transported to the National University Hospital (NUH), arriving there at 1919hrs. He was later admitted and rendered medical care.
- October 11, 2023: Pranav tragically passed away, the cause of death was cited as cardiac arrest with an antecedent cause of congenital malformation of coronary vessels.
The press release detailed, “It was found that the Badminton coach should have checked on Pranav to ensure his well-being before leaving the track. He did not account for all his student-athletes before dismissing them from training, which was not in accordance with the school’s safety protocols.”
While the SSP has taken decisive action against the coach for neglecting to account for Pranav’s wellbeing, and despite adherence to some emergency protocols, the incident raises piercing questions regarding the preparedness and responsiveness of youth sports training institutions to medical emergencies.
In response to the incident and ensuing inquiries, SSP has engaged with Pranav’s family and is also undertaking an extensive review of its safety protocols. “The School is also reviewing and strengthening all its safety protocols and emphasised to coaches and staff the importance of adhering to them.”
MOH refutes link between 14-year-old’s tragic death and COVID-19 vaccination
Separately, on 14 October, the Ministry of Health (MOH) dismissed speculation linking the 14-year-old Pranav’s death to COVID-19 vaccination, deeming it “untrue and irresponsible.”
The ministry clarified, “Based on the Ministry of Health’s vaccination records, the student had received his last dose of Pfizer-BioNTech’s Comirnaty COVID-19 vaccine more than 18 months ago.”
“About 60 strokes and heart attacks happen every day, with or without COVID-19 vaccinations. It is highly irresponsible to link the two. ”
“For an unvaccinated person, the risk of COVID-19 infection leading to severe illness, far outweighs that of vaccination.”
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