Tah Ching Road lift accident: Elderly woman to undergo leg operation on Monday
SINGAPORE - The elderly widow who lost her hand in a Jurong lift accident last Friday (Oct 9) is in a stable condition but needs surgery on not just her hand but her left leg, too.
Madam Khoo Bee Hua's left hand was severed when the 85-year-old tried to stop the lift doors from closing. Doctors at the National University Hospital (NUH), where she is now warded, failed to re-attach the hand after a four-hour operation.
Her son, who gave his name only as Mr Lee, said his mother's fall during the accident misaligned a metal plate in her left knee and caused a bone fracture.
The 59-year-old said: "The bone twisted and cracked, and the whole plate tilted up to touch the skin."
Madam Khoo underwent an operation during Friday night's surgery to set the plate straight to reduce her pain, and will have another operation on Monday (Oct 12) to treat the fracture.
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I want to settle the facts. If somebody is responsible, they must be held responsible. If no action is taken, I will take action.
MR LEE, son of Madam Khoo Bee Hua
The incident occurred on Friday morning as Madam Khoo was returning with her dog to her flat in Block 322, Tah Ching Road, where she lives alone.
The Straits Times understands that the lift doors somehow shut on her hand, leaving the dog outside and Madam Khoo trapped within the lift. Singapore Civil Defence Force (SCDF) rescuers had to prise open the lift doors to free her.
Her family has asked to view closed-circuit television footage of the incident.
Mr Lee, who declined to give his occupation, said: "I want to settle the facts. If somebody is responsible, they must be held responsible. If no action is taken, I will take action."
Use of the 19-year-old lift has been suspended while investigations are carried out, the Building and Construction Authority (BCA) said on Friday.
According to a report in The New Paper, residents have been complaining about problems with both lifts in the block for months.
Mr Lee, who lives in a block of flats opposite, recalled that he had been on his way to work that morning when he saw the activity.
"I saw an ambulance, a Red Rhino, and thought there must be some kind of fire. Then I saw (SCDF officers) looking for something. I asked what they were looking for. They said it was a broken hand.
"It was only when I saw my mother lying there that I realised it was her hand they were searching for."
He said his mother is conscious but tired. "She is now on painkillers. On and off, she will speak one or two words, then go back to sleep."
The severed hand is being preserved at NUH. Mr Lee said: "I have to seek my mother's opinion on how to deal with it."
He added that his family is now caring for his mother's dog - a small, white, mixed-breed stray she had adopted - for the time being.
During the accident, the dog's leash was caught between the lift doors, and it was dragged up to the top of the doors and left dangling there. A neighbour cut it down before it choked to death.
Mr Lee takes the dog with him when he stays at his mother's flat overnight to keep an eye on things.
"It's very attached to my mum," he said. "Every night, it waits at the door for her to come back."
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