Smog claims second victim

PETALING JAYA (June 27, 2013): Despite taking precautions to avoid the "killer" smog, a senior citizen died on Monday, four days after he was admitted to a hospital in Muar, Johor, for breathing difficulties.

Yu Sheng Ye (pix), 62, is believed to be the second person to die of haze-related complications in two days.

The first involved a 51-year-old asthmatic woman, also in the same district, earlier the same day.

It is learnt that Yu, who suffered from pulmonary fibrosis (hardening of the lungs), had shortness of breath despite keeping the doors and windows of his house shut, confining himself to an air-conditioned room and putting on an oxygen mask to avoid the thick haze that covered Johor for over a week.

He was admitted to hospital last Thursday and died at 10.20am on Monday, two days after going into a coma.

Yu had earlier complained to his wife that he was suffering because of the haze and believed that he would not survive until the end of the month.

"I am suffering because of the smog, it will soon kill me!" were among the last words Yu uttered to his wife, identified only by her surname Lin. "He wanted the heavens to open up, but the rain never came," she said.

Lin said her husband had sporadic bouts of breathing difficulties since he was diagnosed with pulmonary fibrosis two years ago, but his condition became critical on Thursday.

According to her, doctors found Yu's lungs shrinking, resulting in a high level of carbon dioxide in the body that affected his brain function.

Lin hoped her husband's death would alert people with respiratory tract disorders to the danger posed by the haze.

Meanwhile, China Press reported yesterday that the medical report of asthmatic-cum-diabetic housewife Li Cai Lin, who died at the Muar Hospital in the early hours of Monday, stated she succumbed to a cerebrovascular accident, or stroke.

A doctor from the hospital said Li's stroke could have been caused by an asthma attack triggered by the haze.

She was admitted to the hospital in a coma hours before the air pollutant index in Muar hit 746, the highest on record for Peninsular Malaysia.