Elderly Pinay DH dies of a suspected heat stroke

An elderly domestic helper in Shaukeiwan, Hong Kong, died on Monday morning, August 12, in her bed from a suspected heat stroke.  She was identified as Milagrosa M. Aligaen, 63 years old, a widow with two grown-up sons and a native of Iloilo.

Elsa Cordero, Aligaen’s sister-in-law stated that Aligaen’s employer called the police on Monday morning upon waking up to their helper lifeless.  She was brought to Pamela Youde Nethersole Eastern Hospital where she was declared dead.  The employer contacted Cordero immediately to inform her of the helper’s death.

According to the police investigation, Aligaen first worked as a domestic helper in Hong Kong since 1990.  She was then hired by her employer to take care of  their father who is an elderly.  Aligaen shared a double-deck bed with her employer who occupies the upper deck in their small flat.

The investigations disclosed further that Aligaen had been complaining about a heart problem and taking maintenance medicines according to her sister-in-law, Elsa Cordero. She also complained that she could not sleep and had difficulty breathing due to very hot weather and their space was small.
The Hong Kong Observatory has issued a hot weather warning over the past several days as the city baked under high temperatures of 33 to 35 degrees Celsius.  This could have been the cause of Aligaen’s death though the coroner is still determining the actual cause.

In this article by Mayo Clinic, heatstroke is a condition caused by your body overheating, usually as a result of prolonged exposure to or physical exertion in high temperatures. This most serious form of heat injury, heatstroke, can occur if your body temperature rises to 104 F (40 C) or higher. The condition is most common in the summer months.

The article explains further that heatstroke requires emergency treatment. Untreated heatstroke can quickly damage your brain, heart, kidneys and muscles. The damage worsens the longer treatment is delayed, increasing your risk of serious complications or death.

Mayo Clinic identifies these symptoms of heatstroke

  • High body temperature. A core body temperature of 104 F (40 C) or higher, obtained with a rectal thermometer, is the main sign of heatstroke.
  • Altered mental state or behavior. Confusion, agitation, slurred speech, irritability, delirium, seizures and coma can all result from heatstroke.
  • Alteration in sweating. In heatstroke brought on by hot weather, your skin will feel hot and dry to the touch. However, in heatstroke brought on by strenuous exercise, your skin may feel dry or slightly moist.
  • Nausea and vomiting. You may feel sick to your stomach or vomit.
  • Flushed skin. Your skin may turn red as your body temperature increases.
  • Rapid breathing. Your breathing may become rapid and shallow.
  • Racing heart rate. Your pulse may significantly increase because heat stress places a tremendous burden on your heart to help cool your body.
  • Headache. Your head may throb.
Aligaen’s employer contacted the Overseas Workers Welfare Administration (OWWA) to report the case of her death and work on her repatriation.  They wanted Aligaen’s body be cremated but her sons want her repatriated and be buried in Iloilo.

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