Jail term doubled for maid who ill-treated bedridden boy

The suction cap which fell into the boy's mouth.
The suction cap which fell into the boy's mouth.PHOTO: COURT DOCUMENTS

SINGAPORE - A maid who ill-treated her four-year-old charge when she tried to retrieve a medical device from the boy's throat had her sentenced doubled from four months to eight on Tuesday (April 25), following an appeal by prosecutors.

Indonesian Kusrini Caslan Arja, 37, who was released from jail in March, will go back to prison to serve a second stint. Her initial sentence had been backdated to the day she was first remanded in custody.

In doubling her jail term, Judge of Appeal Tay Yong Kwang described Kusrini's acts of digging in the child's throat as "unthinkable". He noted that she was not being punished for being untrained, but for her "cold disregard" for the child's safety.

However, he did not agree with the sentence sought by prosecutors, who had asked for 18 months' jail.

The boy, who cannot be named because of a court order, has Type 1 spinal muscular atrophy, which makes him bedridden. He also needs support ventilation and oxygen.

 

His parents hired Kusrini in March last year. They trained her to use a machine to remove his phlegm and mucus, which includes a suction cap that is attached to a tube and is about the size of an adult's thumb.

Kusrini was told to place the suction cap only outside the boy's nose and lips.

But on Nov 23 last year, she defied instructions and placed the suction cap inside the boy's mouth. The cap became lodged in the boy's throat when it detached from the tube.

She put her hand into his mouth and tried to fish out the cap, persisting for eight minutes even though her hand was covered in his blood.

The maid kept mum about the incident. The suction cap remained lodged for about 12 hours until his parents returned and noticed blood in the pump container of the suction machine.

When confronted, she refused to come clean.

She pleaded guilty on March 6 and was sentenced to four months' jail by a district judge, who noted that she did not intend any malice and was not medically trained.