Jurong Town Council to conduct 'thorough' probe of lift accident that severed hand

Policemen inspecting the site where an elderly woman's hand was severed by a lift, in Jurong, on Oct 9, 2015.
Policemen inspecting the site where an elderly woman's hand was severed by a lift, in Jurong, on Oct 9, 2015.PHOTO: LIANHE WANBAO

SINGAPORE - Jurong Town Council has appointed an authorised examiner to conduct a "thorough investigation" into the causes of an accident last Friday in which an elderly widow had her left hand severed by a housing block lift as she tried to stop it closing.

Madam Khoo Bee Hua, 85, had been returning with her dog to her flat at Block 322, Tah Ching Road, Jurong, where she lives alone.

In a statement on Tuesday, the town council said that until the investigation is concluded, it cannot rule out any cause, including any possibility of technical faults with the lift's safety devices.

"Words cannot express how sorry we are for the tragic injury and trauma that Mdm Khoo has gone through," it added. "We will extend help to Mdm Khoo and her family in every way possible."

On Monday, Madam Khoo went for a second operation at the National University Hospital (NUH) to close her forearm wound and treat a leg fracture suffered during the accident.

Madam Khoo underwent her first operation at NUH on Friday itself. Doctors at the hospital, however, did not manage to reattach the hand.

NUH said on Monday that, with significant blood loss and multiple injuries, Madam Khoo was in critical condition when she arrived at the hospital.

An NUH spokesman added: "This unstable physiological state renders her unfit for complex reattachment surgery.

"The badly crushed state of her hand and forearm were additional factors as to why reattachment was not possible."

Prior to last Friday's surgery, Madam Khoo's family was informed that her hand could not be reattached.

That first operation was to stop the bleeding, remove the unhealthy tissue and stabilise her leg fracture.

The hour-long procedure was led by a team comprising hand and reconstructive microsurgery and orthopaedic specialists.

calyang@sph.com.sg