Man remanded at IMH died after heart attack at another hospital: Coroner

Man remanded at IMH died after heart attack at another hospital: Coroner

File photo state courts 2
File photo of the State Courts in Singapore. (Photo: Xabryna Kek)

SINGAPORE: A man who was remanded at the Institute of Mental Health (IMH) after being charged for breaching a protection order died after having a heart attack at Changi General Hospital, a coroner's inquiry found on Wednesday (Apr 10).

Mr Teo Tiong Guan, 54, was charged in court on Sep 29 last year for one count of contravening a protection order against an unspecified family member under the Women's Charter.

He was remanded at IMH for psychiatric observation, where a doctor assessed him.

Mr Teo had a history of major depressive disorder, alcohol use disorder and antisocial personality disorder.

He was also previously admitted to the high dependency ward or intensive care unit on three occasions due to a potentially life-threatening complication of alcohol withdrawal known as delirium tremens.

More than a week after he was remanded at IMH, Mr Teo "exhibited a sudden change in his mental state", Coroner Samuel Chua said.

"He developed an untrue and unshakable belief that he had left the ward the day before and met a friend who told him that his wife had been cheating on him," said the coroner. 

He also appeared irritable, a change from his usual calm and cooperative self. Because of this sudden change in his mental state, Mr Teo was taken to Changi General Hospital (CGH) for further investigations.

A doctor from the hospital's department of respiratory and critical care medicine wrote in her report that Mr Teo had persistent hallucinations and delusions, sometimes requiring restraints.

An X-ray of his chest showed nodules in his lung, suggesting a possible chest infection, but other tests proved unremarkable.

While Mr Teo was at CGH, he was given anti-psychotic medication and benzodiazepines, a type of drug typically prescribed for anxiety and agitation.

Mr Teo was scheduled for an MRI scan of his brain on the afternoon of Oct 16, less than three weeks after he was first remanded at IMH.

However, he suffered a heart attack in the wee hours of that day and became unresponsive. Cardiopulmonary resuscitation was administered for half an hour, along with doses of adrenaline, but Mr Teo was pronounced dead at 1.52am.

He was certified to have died from ischaemic heart disease, with no basis to suspect foul play.

The coroner extended his condolences to Mr Teo's family for their loss.

Source: CNA/ll(aj)