Khaw Boon Wan draws lessons from fall during late-night toilet visit

Transport Minister Khaw Boon Wan, Dr Lim Wee Kiak, a fellow MP for Sembawang GRC, and grassroots leader Poh Li San (right) arriving at the Women's Festival 2019 held at Kampung Admiralty yesterday. It was Mr Khaw's first appearance at a grassroots ev
Transport Minister Khaw Boon Wan, Dr Lim Wee Kiak, a fellow MP for Sembawang GRC, and grassroots leader Poh Li San (right) arriving at the Women's Festival 2019 held at Kampung Admiralty yesterday. It was Mr Khaw's first appearance at a grassroots event since his injury last month. Yesterday, he used his painful experience as a cautionary tale of the dangers of getting up too quickly and falling.ST PHOTO: CHONG JUN LIANG

Transport Minister Khaw Boon Wan, who is nursing a fractured left arm, injured it after he hastily jumped out of bed to get to the toilet, he said yesterday.

Speaking to residents at the Women's Festival at Kampung Admiralty - his first appearance at a grassroots event since his injury last month - the Sembawang GRC MP used his painful experience as a cautionary tale of the dangers of getting up quickly and falling.

Mr Khaw, 66, who is still on medical leave, said the accident happened at around midnight while he was in bed, and he had the urge to visit the toilet, he said, adding that he had been coughing very badly.

"My wife was sleeping very well, and I am a very good husband, so I did not want to disturb her. I knew I should not have jumped out of bed, but I did so anyway," he recounted.

But Mr Khaw fell, causing a loud bang that woke the family. They called for an ambulance.

"I have never experienced so much pain. The doctors told me this type of fracture, the pain is more painful than delivering babies, but I said I don't know because I never had that experience. But I can tell you it is very painful," he said.

Mr Khaw was warded at the Singapore General Hospital for around two weeks and underwent a three-hour surgery on his fractured left arm. Doctors fixed his broken arm in place with a piece of titanium plate, he said. "But old bones take time to join together, and I need another one month," he said.

The doctors also believed that Mr Khaw fainted while getting up quickly that night, leading to his fall.

While in hospital, Mr Khaw said he received many get-well wishes and prayers from his residents, and tried to "reply to almost every Facebook comment because I had plenty of time in the hospital".

 
 

Using his experience as a cautionary tale, he said: "Those of you working, especially in the toilet, in the bathroom, or if you are working in the kitchen and it is very slippery, be very careful."

Mr Khaw said that his hospitalisation experience taught him that one in three Singaporeans above 65 suffers from falls. "That is a very high frequency. It is miserable for yourself, for your family and also to the Government because when you stay two weeks in the hospital, it is a lot of subsidy. The best thing is to not fall."

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on March 25, 2019, with the headline 'Khaw draws lessons from fall during late-night toilet visit'. Print Edition | Subscribe