INJURED NAVY MAN

Serviceman back home, learning to walk again

He's fitted out with prosthetic legs as part of rehabilitation

INJURED navy serviceman Jason Chee has been discharged from hospital and even took his first steps, fulfilling an aim that he had set out at the start of the year.

The 30-year-old, who lost both legs in an accident last December, was previously staying at Ang Mo Kio-Thye Hua Kwan Hospital but went home last month.

He posted a one-minute video on Facebook on Wednesday, showing him walking on prosthetic legs.

He was aided by a walking frame and medical staff.

In the post, which was shared more than 100 times and liked by 2,000, he described the achievement as "a great milestone".

Earlier this February, the former weapons systems supervisor told The Straits Times from the hospital bed that he wanted to walk again this year.

In another Facebook post, he wrote: "After 41/2 months, I stand and walk again! I did it."

The posts attracted many positive comments, including one from paraplegic athlete William Tan, 56, who wrote: "I can imagine you will be going places and inspiring many."

Mr Chee, who also lost his left arm and three fingers on the right hand, was trying out the short prosthetic legs in Tan Tock Seng Hospital's Foot Care and Limb Design Centre.

He is due to return to the centre for "fitting sessions", said the hospital.

This is to customise the prostheses to suit his needs.

It is understood that the prosthetic devices are being made in preparation for his next stage of rehabilitation, which will focus on strengthening his lower limbs.

This phase may take years, and will involve getting him to stand and balance properly, so that he could eventually walk without assistance.

Once this is completed, he could get fitted with full-length prosthetic legs and also train his upper body.

The Ministry of Defence has said Mr Chee's medical and rehabilitation expenses will be paid for in the long term.

Meanwhile, SIM University, where Mr Chee had been studying before the accident, said it is prepared to send some of its lecturers to tutor Jason at his home, under a special arrangement.

"We are in constant contact with Jason and our first priority is his speedy recovery," said a university spokesman.

Mr Chee has also been taking up sports, such as table tennis, bowling and shooting, as part of his healing process.

chpoon@sph.com.sg