Wed, 03 Sep 2003

Student in coma after suicide attempt

BANDUNG: A 12-year-old student has been in a coma for 12 days after attempting to kill himself at his home in Garut regency, West Java.

Heryanto is being treated at Hasan Sadikin Hospital in the West Java capital of Bandung. The elementary school student from Garut Kota subdistrict had been treated at Dr. Slamet Hospital in Garut until being transferred to Bandung on Aug. 25.

He attempted to commit suicide on Aug. 22 by hanging himself with a plastic cable. He was reportedly upset because his teacher had asked him to pay Rp 2,500 (30 US cents) for school equipment, but his parents could not afford the money.

Dr. Suganda Tanuwidjaja, who is treating the patient at Hasan Sadikin Hospital, said Heryanto was suffering from oedema cerebrikini due to a lack of oxygen to the brain.

This could lead to "intelligence degradation", paralysis and other disabilities if the patient recovers from the coma, he said.

Heryanto's case has caught the attention of senior government officials, including West Java Governor Danny Setiawan and Yogyakarta Governor Hamengkubuwono X, who have visited him in the hospital. --JP