Ventilation support can enable patients to lead meaningful lives at home

I read with interest the report about Tan Tock Seng Hospital's home ventilation programme, which provides patients unable to breathe on their own with the equipment they need to live in their own homes (At home - with ventilation support; Aug 22).

I do not believe doctors need to worry that they are prolonging suffering by putting their patients on a ventilator at home.

With the programme, patients need not be confined to a lonely existence cooped up in hospital, but can do much more at home.

They can resume their studies or pursue an education programme, according to their conditions and interests. They have the chance to find their vocation.

They can also maintain healthy friendships over the Internet or have friends over to visit.

It is always tragic when a debilitating disease or injury condemns a young person to a lifetime of disability. But having a severe disability does not mean patients cannot still have a meaningful life.

Physicist Stephen Hawking and the late actor Christopher Reeve are examples of people who did not allow their disability to crush their spirit or ability to contribute to society in their own ways.

We may be surprised at what these disabled young people are still capable of doing, and be amazed by their indomitable will to survive and thrive despite overwhelming odds.

Lee Kay Yan (Miss)