A 'mother' to amputees

SINGAPORE - Mr Desmond Tong's patients call him "mother".

As a senior prosthestist and orthotist, he designs and makes artificial limbs for amputees. "They said when they were born, their mothers gave them their bodies. When they lose their legs, I was the one who gave them new legs... and a new lease of life," said the 37-year-old.

A sentiment that Mr Tong knows too well.

When he was 23, he was in a motorcycle accident. His lower right leg was severed on impact. Even though doctors managed to re-attach his limb, his body did not respond well to the procedure.

The avid sportsman, who once represented Singapore in judo, became depressed and dropped out of university. He eventually decided to amputate his right leg and use a prosthetic leg in order to "achieve more in life".

He went on to study Prosthetic and Orthotics in Britain and in 2009, he returned to work at Tan Tock Seng Hospital's Foot Care and Limb Design Centre.

Mr Tong is one of more than 2,000 allied health professionals under the National Healthcare Group. They hail from different disciplines including speech therapy, radiography, and physiotherapy.

NHG marks Allied Health Professionals Day on April 28.