Singapore man in coma in Tokyo
Family struggles to pay hospital bills after man goes into coma in Tokyo
The family holiday to Tokyo was to celebrate her mother's remission from cancer.
But soon after Miss Eileen Cheong and her family landed in the Japanese capital on Wednesday, they had to deal with a medical emergency.
Her father, Mr Jimi Cheong, 62, had a cardiac arrest.
He has been in a coma since and is on mechanical support in the intensive care unit of Toho University Omori Medical Centre in Tokyo.
The family now owes the hospital about $120,000, and it would cost at least another $120,000 to bring Mr Cheong home by medical evacuation, according to Miss Cheong.
At her wits' end, the 25-year-old set up a crowdfunding campaign for $250,000 on GiveAsia.
As of last night, it has raised almost $100,000.
Miss Cheong said in her post on GiveAsia: "While my dad and I have managed some savings in recent months, the reserves in our bank accounts barely covered the first night of my father's hospitalisation.
"All the help my relatives can provide will barely cover the existing hospital bills as none of them are well-to-do. This crowdfunding project is my final resort.
"We are just short of mortgaging our 4-room HDB unit, the proceeds of which may not even be sufficient to cover the costs that have been incurred thus far."
A spokesman for the Ministry of Foreign Affairs told The New Paper that it is aware of the incident, and the Singapore Embassy in Tokyo is rendering the necessary consular assistance to the family.
Miss Cheong, who is the only child, earns less than $3,000 a month and is still paying off her student loans.
Her mother is a housewife, and Mr Cheong is a logistics manager with an average monthly income of about $4,000 a month.
Mr Cheong was diagnosed with heart failure in 2012 and had a device inserted to prevent sudden cardiac death.
He has no life insurance, but had been on several trips before and was certified fit to travel just before leaving for Tokyo.
Miss Cheong said her father's travel insurer MSIG said their claim is unlikely to be successful, as his current condition was attributable to a pre-existing one.
An MSIG spokesman confirmed that since Mr Cheong's condition is counted as a pre-existing medical condition, it is excluded from his insurance cover.
The spokesman said: "Our travel emergency provider has been in touch with Miss Cheong daily and has explained our position to her. We will be rendering every assistance possible and will continue to be in close contact with her."
NTUC Income said its Enhanced PreX plans are currently the only ones on the market that cover pre-existing medical conditions.
Dr David Teo, regional medical director of assistance services, Asia, at medical and travel security risk services company International SOS, said: "Travellers with pre-existing chronic illness should check with their travel insurers to confirm if they are covered for these illness.
"In addition, travellers should also take note that the insurance coverage should be adequate to cover medical expenses and evacuation cost."