Tuesday, April 01, 2008

Doc’s kids pining for her - (AVM)

Doc’s kids pining for her

PENANG: Where is mummy? Why has she been gone for so long? These were the heart-wrenching questions Tan Xin Yeng, five, and Xing San, seven, have been asking their grandparents.

The two young boys are finding it difficult to cope with the untimely death of their mother Dr Tan Bee Hooi (pic), her father Datuk Tan Gin Soon said.

Speaking to reporters at their home in Tanjung Bungah yesterday, the National Kidney Foundation vice-chairman said he would explain to his grandchildren how their mother succumbed to her illness and how her death had saved many lives.

“It is difficult for them because they are young. But they are very intelligent – they will understand. My grandchildren have always lived with us and we are very close.

“My wife and I will take care of them. Their father, Dr Tan Hoo Seong who is based in Kuala Lumpur, will also be there to support them,” he said.

Bee Hooi, an anaesthetist, was diagnosed with arteriovenous malformation (AVM) three years ago and underwent her first surgery in Kuala Lumpur in 2005. She was operated on by a prominent Thai specialist.

“When told she had AVM – a congenital disorder caused by abnormal development of blood vessels – we had every reason to believe she would recover because it is not a terminal disease. The doctor told us that only 2% to 3% of those who had the disease succumbed to it,” said Gin Soon.

He said after Bee Hooi underwent surgery at the Fondation Rothschild Hospital in Paris on March 11, she had SMS-ed to say that she was fine and was coming home.

“She said ‘don’t worry, I am sure I will come back’. We even talked to her on the phone although her voice was hoarse. But last Monday, I got a call from Paris saying she had complications. I rushed there the following day,” he added. Bee Hooi was certified brain dead on Wednesday.

“I had to decide immediately if I was willing to donate her organs. That same day, her heart and kidneys were transplanted to patients who needed it,” Gin Soon said.

Bee Hooi’s corneas, heart, kidneys and liver were harvested for patients waiting for transplants in France and other European countries.

“It was not an easy decision to make because I love my daughter but based on her life principles, religious beliefs and many conversations we have had, I know she would have wanted her organs to save others,” he said.

Among those who paid their last respects yesterday were chief minister Lim Guan Eng, Tanjung Bungah assemblyman Teh Yee Cheu and Gerakan acting president Tan Sri Dr Koh Tsu Koon.

Bee Hooi’s remains arrived at the Penang International Airport in Bayan Lepas from France yesterday. The funeral will be held at the Mount Erskine crematorium at 2pm tomorrow.

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