Teen's hand crushed in juicer while helping dad at hawker stall

Li Xuan had two fingers severed, thumb half-severed and deep cuts up to her wrist. -- PHOTO: SHIN MIN DAILY NEWS
Li Xuan had two fingers severed, thumb half-severed and deep cuts up to her wrist. -- PHOTO: SHIN MIN DAILY NEWS

A FAMILY whose teenage daughter's hand was crushed by a sugarcane juicer at their drinks stall on Sunday night had swopped their machine for a safer one just three weeks ago.

The new juicer has a box-shaped fixture to keep a user's hands further from the grinder, said the girl's grandmother Madam Lim Ah Ger, 69. She suspects that 14-year-old Tan Li Xuan had been trying to dislodge a jammed piece of sugarcane when the accident happened.

Her father Mr Tan Guan An, 50, who runs the stall at the Toa Payoh Lorong 8 hawker centre, had forbidden his three teenage children from operating the previous juicer, considering it too dangerous, said the girl's mother Madam Mabel Ang, 44, a casino dealer at Marina Bay Sands.

But Li Xuan, a student of Guangyang Secondary School, had been helping out with the new juicer since it arrived, and was eager to ease her father's workload, Madam Ang told The Straits Times yesterday at Tan Tock Seng Hospital (TTSH), where Li Xuan is warded. "They were about to close the stall to come home for dinner, and she was helping him so they could finish sooner," said her mother.

The couple's 17-year-old son and older daughter, 16, have also been helping at the stall, which the family said will remain closed while they recover from their shock.

The accident, which happened at about 8.40pm, reported Shin Min Daily News yesterday, left Li Xuan's right index and middle fingers severed, her thumb half-severed, and skin badly lacerated up to her wrist.

Li Xuan will undergo an operation on Dec 26, which will involve using one of her toes to save her right thumb, and grafting skin from her legs to her hand. But she will lose the two severed fingers, said her mother.

The family is worried as they do not have insurance to cover the hospital bills. Her mother said doctors from TTSH estimate it will take Li Xuan nine months to recover before she can begin rehabilitation on her injured hand.

Said the grandmother:"She's such a good daughter, yet this has to happen to her. I hope her future won't be affected."