Girl shot in the head on New Year's Eve in Philippines dies after 4 days in coma

Kristine Felisse Mangunay and Tina G. Santos
Philippine Daily Inquirer / Asia News Network
Thursday, Jan 5, 2017

The 15-year-old girl who ended up comatose after she was struck in the head by a bullet on New Year's Eve in Malabon City has passed away.

Health Secretary Paulyn Ubial announced that Emilyn Villanueva suffered cardiac arrest and was pronounced dead at 6:10 p.m. Wednesday.

Her remains will undergo an autopsy, Ubial said.

Earlier, the Inquirer learned about Villanueva's death through National Capital Region Police Office director Chief Supt. Oscar Albayalde who said the teenager was declared dead by Dr. Christian Perolina on Wednesday night.

Since being shot in the head while watching a fireworks display near her house in Malabon, Villanueva had been confined at the surgical intensive care unit of Jose Reyes Memorial Medical Center (JRMMC) in Sta. Cruz, Manila.

Hours before, case investigator PO2 Maria Teresa Dagman told the Inquirer that the teenager remained in a coma, based on an update given by Melody Labrador of Barangay Agustin where the victim lived.

There was also a media report released earlier which said that Villanueva's condition had improved as she no longer had a fever.

Reached by the Inquirer at 5 p.m., over an hour before she would pass away, a JRMMC staffer confirmed that the girl remained at ICU.

50 per cent of brain damaged

Villanueva, a scholar who wanted to become a chef, had been given by doctors a "very low chance of survival."

According to JRMMC hospital director Dr. Emmanuel Montaña Jr., the bullet had damaged 50 per cent of her brain, affecting the parts responsible for speech, motor and other critical functions.

The teenager was initially reported as one of the four victims of indiscriminate firing during the holiday season.

The police, however, claimed that the shooter fired his gun deliberately although the teenager was not the target.