Vietnam’s tiniest person dies after sudden stroke

By Thach Thao   November 9, 2020 | 05:30 pm PT
An 11-year-old boy from the central Quang Ngai Province, Vietnam’s tiniest citizen, died Monday after four days of hospitalization.

Dinh Van K’Re, who weighed just 3.9 kilograms (8.6 pounds), suffered from the Seckel syndrome, a rare disorder that prevented him from growing physically and mentally.

He suffered a sudden stroke last Thursday and was taken to the Quang Ngai Obstetrics and Pediatrics Hospital for emergency treatment.

"The boy fell unconscious at school last Thursday and was quickly taken to the hospital, but he could not survive," said a relative.

Doctor Tran Dinh Diep, who heads the hospital’s resuscitation department, said that the boy was admitted to the hospital with signs of cardiac arrest, apnea, sepsis and encephalitis.

K'Re had a history of severe pneumonia, congenital heart defects and many other illnesses, Diep was quoted by the Nha Bao & Cong Luan (Newspaper and Public Opinion) as saying.

On Monday morning, his relatives asked for permission from doctors to take him back home to Son Ba Ward in Son Ha District.

K’Re died at home.

Dinh Van KRe during a trip in September, 2020. Photo courtesy of Truong Thu Huong.

Dinh Van K'Re in September 2020. Photo by Truong Thu Huong.

K'Re was born to a H'Re family. At five, he weighed just 3 kg and was 50 cm tall. At 11, he was 62 cm tall.

The Seckel syndrome, also known as bird-headed dwarfism, is characterized by a small head, a narrow bird-like face, a beak-like nose, large eyes with down-slanting palpebral fissures, a receding mandible and usually an intellectual disability. It is a very rare condition, with only 100 or so cases recorded worldwide.

Since 2016, when K'Re turned seven, he had been raised by Dang Van Cuong, principal of the Son Ba boarding school in Quang Ngai, who brought the tiny boy from his remote village in the central province and took care of the boy like his own son.

Dinh Van K’Re at a boarding school in Quang Ngai Province. Video by Thach Thao.

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