Maid pleads guilty to ill-treating bedridden boy by forcing hand into his mouth to retrieve medical device

The suction cap which fell into the boy's mouth. PHOTO: COURT DOCUMENTS

SINGAPORE - An Indonesian maid pleaded guilty in court on Monday (March 6) to ill-treating her employers' four-year-old bedridden son on Nov 23 last year.

For almost eight minutes, Kusrini Caslan Arja, 37, forced her right hand into the boy's mouth to retrieve part of a medical device she had used on him earlier.

She did not stop when his face turned purple and continued even when her hand was covered in blood.

The boy survived the ordeal and spent two days in the KK Women's and Children's Hospital.

The boy, who cannot be named due to a court order, has type one spinal muscular atrophy and needs support ventilation and oxygen.

Kusrini, who started working for the couple in March last year, was tasked to take care of the boy in his parents' flat.

Her job included using a suction machine to suck out phlegm from his windpipe.

Her employers had trained Kusrini to operate the machine which includes a suction cap that is attached to a tube.

They told her the cap, which is about the size of an adult's thumb, should be placed only outside his nose and lips.

At 9.13am, Kusrini decided to use the machine as she felt the boy had more phlegm than usual.

Instead of following her employers' instructions, she inserted the suction cap into the boy's mouth. She felt doing so would remove more phlegm in less time.

When she placed her fingers into his mouth about a minute later to try remove the cap, she realised it was no longer there.

She panicked and inserted her entire right hand into his mouth but failed to retrieve it.

As a result of her forceful digging, his face turned purple, said Deputy Public Prosecutor (DPP) Teo Lu Jia.

But Kusrini continued to dig into the boy's mouth until her entire right hand was soaked with his blood.

A video of the incident, captured on a CCTV camera his parents had placed near his bed, was played in court on Monday.

It showed the maid frantically trying to dig the cap out of the boy's mouth with her bloodied hand. He appeared to be unresponsive throughout the ordeal.

She gave up trying to retrieve the cap and stopped digging at 9.22am.

When his father called her later that morning, she assured him that everything was fine with the boy.

The boy's parents returned at around 7pm and did not notice anything amiss at first.

But when they checked on him about two hours later, they found that his heart rate was high and the pump container of the suction machine was filled with blood.

His mother opened his mouth, found the cap and removed it with a pair of tweezers.

Kusrini kept silent when the couple confronted her. They then called for an ambulance and informed the police.

The boy was rushed to the hospital where he was found to be suffering from cuts inside his throat. He was discharged two days later.

Referring to his medical report, DPP Teo said: "The suction cap left in the victim's throat could have caused choking."

Kusrini will be back in court on March 23.

For ill-treating the boy, she could be jailed up to four years and fined up to $4,000.

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