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Singapore Sports School student who died after feeling unwell was taken to NUH in line with protocol: SCDF

SINGAPORE: The Singapore Sports School student who died after feeling unwell following a fitness trial was taken to the National University Hospital (NUH) in line with medical protocol, the Singapore Civil Defence Force (SCDF) said on Tuesday (Oct 24).

NUH is equipped with paediatric emergency medical facilities and was the fastest option at the time, said SCDF in response to queries on why 14-year-old Pranav Madhaik was not taken to Khoo Teck Puat Hospital which is nearer to the school in Woodlands.

Giving a timeline of its response, SCDF said it received a call for assistance at about 6.50pm on Oct 5.

The boy, who was part of the school’s badminton academy, had reported feeling unwell earlier that evening after a 400m fitness time trial.

SCDF said that when it arrived at about 7pm, the Secondary 2 student was seen lying on the ground along a running track. 

A paramedic immediately 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.”

At about 7.20pm, Pranav’s blood pressure had improved.

“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,” said SCDF.

Although KK Women’s and Children’s Hospital is also equipped with paediatric emergency medical facilities, travel to NUH was faster at the time, said SCDF, adding that Khoo Teck Puat Hospital does not have such facilities.

On the way to NUH, the ambulance crew observed that the boy started to turn 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.

Pranav died six days later on Oct 11. 

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The Singapore Sports School earlier revealed that Pranav’s cause of death was cardiac arrest with antecedent cause of congenital malformation of coronary vessels.

It said in a statement on Oct 14 that Pranav’s badminton coach had been fired after investigations found a safety lapse – the coach had failed to check on Pranav’s well-being before leaving the track. 

He did not account for all his students before dismissing them from training, which was not in accordance with the school’s 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,” it added.

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