Monday, February 9, 2009

My uncle passed away peacefully

I have been accompanying my uncle to Tan Tock Seng Hospital since April 07 for his Lung Cancer treatment. I accompanied him for checkups, Chemotherapy, Radiotherapy, scanning, etc. I was his interpreter for his doctors and the spokesman to update our family members since then. As a result, we got quite close together because he always share his life stories and gave me advices on how I deal with people, etc...

On 6th Feb, 8:45pm, my mum called, informing me that my uncle was admitted to A&E in Tan Tock Seng Hospital. This is the 3rd time he was warded over 2 months. I thought its just another A&E and he should be okay, but I was wrong. This time round, I was guided into a private room when I arrived and a doctor was there to brief me on serious his case was compared to the previous cases. After the briefing, my uncle was pushed to Intensive Care Unit in Ward 6B. There was a tube inserted into his mouth where oxygen was pumped for his breathing. He was semi-conscious and not able to talk due to the tube into his mouth.

Being the family and hospital spokesperson, I became the busiest person there. I'm responsible for controlling visitors in and out of ICU and to update everyone on his health condition. I am also a very crucial support for my uncle, updating him his condition every few hours.

On day 2, it was confirmed that the cancer cells had spread beyond the lung and he will likely go within 2-3 days. I was in a dilemma if I should update my uncle on his real condition. Should I tell him to stop fighting to reduce the pain or to tell him to carry on. I decided to tell him to keep fighting and that chances of survival is still high. I know he listens to me and will fight on if I tell him so.

He was in tears whenever my relatives talk and cry. He can still shake and nod his head whenwe asked him a question. I got to know so much about my uncle over the 2 days because every relatives and friends have a different story to tell me about him.

I was so worried that he will become unconsious that I dared not leave the hospital until day 3 morning 5am. He was shouting through his tube at 3am. He was frustrated for not being able to talk. We have to tie him up to the bed as he was violently struggling. It must be his last attempt for trying to talk since then. I updated him the time at 4am and he gradually went into deep sleep. I'm the last one who managed to talk to him.

I returned to hospital after 5 hours of sleep at home and continue my routine of crowd control and updating his condition. My uncle cannot open his eyes but he seems to be listening. There was tears when someone said things that touched him. There was also a intense discussion if we should bring him home. We eventually decided against it and he stayed in ICU.

It was 6:20pm, I was in ICU with my wife and his 3 daughters. I was updating my wife on his case. I told my wife about his true condition and there are no chance of survival. Shortly, I updated him that it was 8th Feb, 6:30pm. After this update, I noticed that his pulse reduced by 1 every minute and his blood pressure started to drop. I thought its normal until the moment when I pulled his eyelids to wipe his tears, his eyes suddenly opened wide and looked up at the ceiling.

I quickly dashed out of ward and shouted for my Grandma, mother and anyone outside. His pulse was very weak when they entered the room but my mother was still not in sight. I desperately look for her and when she arrived, I saw the heart-beat on the machine stopped. This is the moment everyone broke down and shouted for him. I couldn't stomach the scene and got myself out of the room. I was thinking, thank God. He left peacefully...

I'm still thinking if he had overheard my conservation with my wife that his case is hopeless and my last reporting of date and time that he decided not to fight on anymore.

I started arranging for the funeral and the paperwork in obtaining the death certificate when everyone was still grieving. It is his first day of funeral today and I'm most likely be appointed as the administrator for his estate. He has 3 daughters, no wife and a 86 yrs old mother. I think I'll be kept busy for quite sometimes.

I'm glad that I'd pushed away all my appointments and stayed with my uncle till his last moments. I'm glad for updating him the time he died. I know he was listening to me. I'm glad that I managed to open his eyes to see his loved ones. I'm glad to have this chance of knowing him so well over the 2 years of cancer fighting. He is a good man with a tough front but a soft heart. His is a fighter who always stay positive and make people happy. A good man left and I thank God again that he left peacefully...


Anonymous said...

A good man like you will be rewarded. Continue your compassionate and caring nature. God will bless you.


Anonymous said...

Praise the Lord for a caring person like you. What the industry needs is people like you and not those salesmen and women whose main preoccupation is how to squeeze more money out of every cleint. They should stop and take a step back and examine their life and purpose of being an insurance agent.

Anonymous said...

Hi Adrian,

Very sorry to hear your uncle loss. Just last week a secondary friend of mine (we were out of touch for many years) rang me to break the bad news that he was diagnosed Stage 3 Lung Cancer despite his healthy lifestyle and he is only 40 years old. The doctor pronounced that his is a terminal case and he was very shocked to hear it as it just started with a cough in Nov 08. I could only comfort him with my prayer & he has promised that he will press on & fight this battle.

Anonymous said...

My condolences to you and yr uncle's family..

Anonymous said...

These are the people who need inusrance most and yet they have little because insurance agents only sell them whole life telling them insurance is more important in the old age then now. Thsi argument i am really tired of. The truth is insurance is least needed when you are old. So what, you get dread desease when you are old. Is it more devastating than when you are younger, when you have a dozen of children depending on you?
Insurance agents , have some conscience and do what is right.
Don't be greedy and unethical. I have seen too many ntuc agents doing such wicked thing. They will answer one day and retribution will come to them.

Anonymous said...

Dear Adrian, please accept my condolence to your uncle's passing. My heart goes out to his family. Please also cont'd to be a caring financial adviser.../ssiong

Anonymous said...

Hi Adrian,

Sorry to hear about the passing of your uncle. I wish his family well.

Dear all,

In order for Adrian to continue to be a 'caring' financial advisor, it's not good enough to just say say, please call him up if you or anyone you know need objective advice. Adrian doesn't survive on air and grass.

Don't talk to your tied agent friends or relatives, for they can't be objective. They know and can only sell to you ONLY one company's products. They represent their one and only one principal. They will do you disservice and give you heartache. They are struggling now to find new clients. They also have problem retaining existing clients. I have no sympathy for them cos these agents do have a choice. They know that the agency system is flaw, they can't serve the best interest of their clients with their limited range of products and services. They need to sell expensive and poor values insurance plans just to survive. They will do their clients a good service if they jump ship to a FA, just like what Adrian did.

All the best Adrian. Please stick to your promise of working more, blo less. :)

Khiat Han Hwee Adrian said...

Hi Everyone,

Thanks for all your kind words. My uncle terminated most of his life insurance prior diagnosed with the illnesses for the cash value to repay some personal loan.

He also did not have the HPS for his outstanding HDB loan as he uses cash for monthly repayment.

He left behind only a DPS policy and 3 small education plan for his 3 schooling daughters.

I never did a review for him in the past as we are not close prior the illness. Its only the time when I'm with him, it reinforce me on the need for proper review for our clients.

Anonymous said...

Hi all,

It can be seen that adrian has a kind heart. So don't just say "you got a kind heart" but you guys should approach adrian for financial planning. Recommend others to him as well. However, do keep in mind that a good financial planning finds it almost impossible to recommend plans that pay good commission. A good financial planner can never rely on commissions to earn a living. You guys therefore should pay adrian a separate fee. I know adrian don't want to charge fee. How much should one pay? Normally a detailed and comprehensive financial planning takes about 1 to 2 weeks to complete doing. Say adrian takes 1 week to complete. Say he need to earn an income of $4000 a month and assuming PIAS takes 40% cut (should be close to it considering his poor production last year likely would have caused him to slide down the lowest banding). Therefore the fee he should charge on a monthly basis is 4000/40%=$10000. Assuming 4 clients per month this is $2500 per case. Adrian has been working for a long time already. Asking for $4000 per month in pay is reasonable in accordance to his skill, competency and caring heart.

Anonymous said...

So you see what went wrong with your uncle's policies. He terminated the important ones leaving the unimportant children's policies.
Many are like your late uncles and it is because tied agents sell anyhting whether the policies good or not.It is putting the cart in front of the horse. What good are the children's policies. At the best is waiver of premium . What about the meantime? The family has to worry about the mortgage, the living expenses and debts left behind.Your aunties may have to look for work in this downturn. If the insurance agent was competent and put your late uncle's interest first i don't think this will happen.This agent must be a tied agent selling snake oil product to your uncle ignoring his needs.
Adrain, are you prepared to sue the insurance agent or agents?
Get hold of his policies' fact finding forms and check for miss-selling and inappropriate recommendation and conflict of interest. There bound to be. Definitely , the recommendations were not of reasonable basis and that is why his family are in dire straits now. Persuade your auntie to sue the agents. If you need a lawyer who can handle this type of case let me know.
Let me tell you, your uncle should have left the family at least $600K besides the mortgage sum.

A friend.

Anonymous said...

the widow can pursue a legal action against the insurance agents for misselling and conflict of interest that resulted in under insurance .
The widow's interest is tied to the deceased and has been grossly ignored.
The widow can sue the agents and the company for damages and negligence.
In US this is common.

Anonymous said...

how is your auntie? What is the proceed from the estate? Did his insurance agent/agents short change him? How about legal action against his agents for failure to provide appropriate advice and recommendation.
Were his polices full of whole life products? If they a were , this is proof of conflict of interest and miss-selling.
You should help your auntie to check for the anomalies in the KYC.

Khiat Han Hwee Adrian said...

My Auntie had left the Children more than 10 years ago. They are currently being taken care by my another uncle. Their future expenses are shared among the family. The funeral had just ended and there are a lot of work to do on my part.

Looking forward, there are many people who are grossly under-insured. There are many factors that contributed to this. What we must make sure is that our clients should not end up as such.

Anonymous said...

Does it not occur to you that you should help the children your uncle left behind?
Are your nephews the beneficiaries of his policies? How much ?. Is it enough to see them through life till they are financially independent?
If it is not enuough? Why? Didn't the agents advise uncle to have enough? Was it because the agents sold hinm whole life and he couldn't afford enough?
Adrain, it is your duty to investigate and bring the agents to justice for failing to give good advcie to your uncle.His children now suffer because of the agents' negligence and greed.
Looking for a lawyer to take this case to sue the agents , please refer to Tan Kin Lian blog.

Anonymous said...

it is surprising that this entry received more responses than the Job Credit Scheme post.

Anonymous said...

It agree, very useful idea