Shower panels should be made of tempered glass to prevent 'catastrophic and fatal injuries'

SINGAPORE - It may be prudent to use tempered glass on doors or windows in places where falls may commonly occur, to avoid "catastrophic or even fatal injuries" in the event of an inadvertent slip or fall, State Coroner Marvin Bay said on Monday as he gave his findings on the death of a man earlier this year.

Wong Yu Lun Sebastian, 24, died after falling through a glass shower panel on Jan 25.

The sales assistant in a second-hand car dealership had gone to shower with his girlfriend at about 7.40am at her apartment in Teban Gardens Road, after staying there overnight.

As Mr Wong was about to leave the shower, while his girlfriend was still bathing, she suddenly heard the sound of breaking glass.

Turning around, she saw his head trapped within the broken glass panel of the toilet door.

She tried to pull him up to release him but to no avail.

Her sister, who heard the sound of glass breaking, called emergency services.

Mr Wong's girlfriend managed to extricate him, but he fell flat on his back.

She propped him into a sitting position, and used a towel to suppress the bleeding.

After five minutes, however, Mr Wong lost consciousness.

His girlfriend performed cardiopulmonary resuscitation on him, following instructions given by a Singapore Civil Defence Force operator through the phone and relayed by her sister.

An ambulance arrived shortly after and a paramedic who detected a weak pulse arranged to rush Mr Wong to hospital.

But the pulse was lost shortly later, and the paramedic pronounced Mr Wong dead at 8.22am.

Given the nature of the accident, the scene was processed by forensic officers.

There was no suspicion of foul play.

A consultant forensic pathologist said Mr Wong's death was caused by multiple cuts to the head and neck by glass fragments.

None of the injuries would have caused death immediately, but the wounds, in combination, could be expected to cause heavy bleeding resulting in death, the pathologist said.

A forensic scientist with the Health Sciences Authority, in a scene reconstruction, found that Mr Wong broke the glass panel with the right side of his head, before being impaled by his neck on the broken glass.

He was trapped in a stationary position with his head through the glass panel and bled for a period of time.

While the State Coroner noted that Mr Wong had been steadily increasing in weight, and had elevated blood pressure and possible hypertension, with a 75 per cent blockage of an artery, he found that Mr Wong's fall was likely due to "a slip on the wet and slippery floor, rather than a sudden collapse or fainting spell".

The Coroner found the death to be an "unfortunate misadventure".