Abu Dhabi: Schoolboy dies in his sleep

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Gulf News

Abu Dhabi, 13 December 2011: When 16-year-old Harold Robinson did not wake up early in the morning to accompany his younger sister to the school bus, his parents felt he would still be sleepy. The Indian boy had gone to bed as usual the previous night after dinner with his family. But the parents were shocked to find blood and foam on his lips.


"They called the ambulance and the paramedics declared him dead," Joseph Pereira, a paternal uncle of the deceased, told Gulf News yesterday. The incident, which happened early on Thursday, still haunts Pereira who lives in the same building as the Robinsons. "When I reached his home at around 5:15am after a call from his mother, he was lying motionless on the bed. That sight itself was unbearable for me because I never saw him inactive," Pereira said about Harold.



"He was a very active boy who went swimming regularly and performed at public functions as a singer." Robinson was a tenth grader at the Model School in Abu Dhabi. He did not have any physical problems, Pereira said. The death certificate cites the cause of death as "cardiac respiratory arrest", he said.


The boy had an afternoon shift in the school but he still used to wake up early in the morning to accompany his younger sister — a fourth grader — to the school bus stop. He has younger brother also, who studies in the seventh grade. The boy’s father, Robinson Michael, is a manager with a retail chain and his mother is a homemaker.


The family went back home with the boy’s body on Friday night and the burial and last rites were conducted on Saturday in Thiruvanathapuram in the state of Kerala. "He was a very good boy, very polite and obedient," said I.J. Nazari, the headmaster of Model School. "He never had symptoms of any physical problems during the school hours."


Medical Opinion: Congenital abnormality


Dr. Joseph Kurian, head of the Cardiology Department at Lifeline Hospital in Abu Dhabi, said a "cardiac respiratory arrest" can occur in children out of the blue and without any symptoms due to "coronary artery anomaly". "Its first symptom itself can be death," he said.


The term coronary artery anomaly refers to a wide range of congenital abnormalities involving the origin, course, and structure of epicardial coronary arteries. These abnormalities occur in less than one per cent of the population. They are frequently found in association with other major congenital cardiac defects.



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