NSF Dave Lee died of heatstroke, no foul play involved: Coroner
Inquiry's findings show 19-year-old had no medical history which predisposed him to heatstroke
The State Coroner has found that full-time national serviceman (NSF) Dave Lee Han Xuan, 19, died of heatstroke in 2018 and that there was no basis to suspect foul play in the case.
Giving her findings yesterday following an inquiry, State Coroner Kamala Ponnampalam also said he had no medical history which predisposed him to heatstroke.
Corporal First Class (CFC) Lee, who was a guardsman from the 1st Battalion Singapore Guards, collapsed after completing an 8km fast march at Bedok Camp on April 18, 2018.
Investigations revealed he was only evacuated to a medical centre about 40 minutes after he was seen suffering from signs of a heat injury.
This delay was a contributing factor in CFC Lee's death, the court was told in another hearing earlier this year.
He was later taken to Changi General Hospital (CGH) and died 12 days later.
Station Inspector (SI) Aliden Hamad, who conducted police investigations into the NSF's death, testified earlier that CFC Lee started the fast march at 6.45am and was initially observed to be walking and running normally.
SI Aliden said the NSF was, however, seen to be having difficulty walking and speaking after crossing the finish line at 8.25am.
CFC Lee was also observed to be incoherent, breathing heavily and drooling from the mouth.
His load-bearing vest was taken off and his shirt unbuttoned. Ice packs were then applied to his neck, armpit and groin, and water sprayed on his face.
Singapore Armed Forces captain Tan Baoshu, 33, who was the supervising officer of the march, rejected suggestions from other army personnel to evacuate the NSF to the camp's medical centre, saying that the soldier was suffering from physical exhaustion and would recover after resting.
Tan ordered CFC Lee to be evacuated only much later and the NSF arrived at the camp's medical centre at around 9.05am.
Despite receiving treatment at the centre and later at CGH, CFC Lee's condition deteriorated.
Dr Kenneth Heng, a senior consultant in the emergency department at Tan Tock Seng Hospital, testified that evacuating CFC Lee to the medical centre should have been the priority and that a 40-minute delay was "too long".
Tan was charged in October 2018 with offences including causing death by performing a rash act.
He was given a discharge not amounting to an acquittal in January last year, after he was diagnosed with stage 4 cancer. He died the following month.
CFC Lee's mother, Madam Jasmine Yeo, who was present in the coroner's court yesterday, told reporters later that the lapses were "totally unforgivable".