I have to be her dad and mum: Father of premature baby saved in accident that killed wife

Left: Mr Dave Yuen speaking to the media yesterday for the first time since his wife Goh Chieh Ting's death last Saturday. He says he has been visiting his daughter Yu En in the hospital every day, adding: "I still need time to breathe... I don't kno
Mr Dave Yuen speaking to the media yesterday for the first time since his wife Goh Chieh Ting's death last Saturday. He says he has been visiting his daughter Yu En in the hospital every day, adding: "I still need time to breathe... I don't know what is next for me."ST PHOTO: KUA CHEE SIONG
Left: Mr Dave Yuen speaking to the media yesterday for the first time since his wife Goh Chieh Ting's death last Saturday. He says he has been visiting his daughter Yu En in the hospital every day, adding: "I still need time to breathe... I don't kno
The couple on their wedding day in October last year.PHOTO: REMEMBERING CHIEH TING GOH/FACEBOOK

Husband of pregnant woman killed in road accident now has to raise baby without her

Mr Dave Yuen is facing up to the harsh reality of having to be both father and mother to his baby, who was thrust into the world three months too soon.

Thanks to an emergency caesarean section, baby Yu En survived an accident that killed her mother, Ms Goh Chieh Ting, 25, in Jurong West last Saturday. She was six months pregnant.

Mr Yuen, 26, married Ms Goh in October last year. But now, he and his baby will face the rest of their lives without her.

"It was just too sudden," said Mr Yuen, who opened up about the accident to the media for the first time yesterday.

Visibly shaken, he took a long pause to compose himself before speaking.

"My wife left me a daughter. Initially, I just had to play a father's role. Now, I have to take up both (parents') roles... Too many things are in my head right now," he said.

 
 

It has been difficult, he added.

"When reality smacks you in the face, you have to face it," he said.

HARD TO ACCEPT

When reality smacks you in the face, you have to face it. Not just me... all my relatives, my friends, everyone who knows my wife. We have to face it... It's tough.

MR DAVE YUEN, on his wife's death. He said he was grateful for the support of the public, and the family needs time and space to heal.

"Not just me... all my relatives, my friends, everyone who knows my wife. We have to face it... It's tough."

At Ms Goh's wake on Sunday, relatives told The Straits Times that Mr Yuen's mother has been distraught over her death.

She had doted on her daughter- in-law, who was holding her hand as they crossed a road when the accident happened.

Recounting what happened, Mr Yuen said that last Saturday morning, his mother's close friend had turned up at his home to tell him that his wife had been involved in an accident nearby.

Mr Yuen grabbed his keys and rushed to the scene in Jurong West Avenue 1.

"When I got there, they were not there (any more)," he said.

He then headed to Ng Teng Fong General Hospital, where his unconscious wife had been taken.

Ms Goh had been crossing the road with her mother-in-law at around 8am when a lorry turning out of a carpark hit her.

The two women were on their way to a market after having breakfast near their home.

Ms Goh died of severe head injuries about 11/2 hours later, but doctors saved her baby.

Yu En is now in a stable condition at the National University Hospital.

"Things happened so fast... What we need the most (now) is time," said Mr Yuen.

He was accompanied at the press conference by his sister and her boyfriend.

With them were five volunteers from the Jurong Spring Community Club, which is helping the family.

"I still need time to breathe... I don't know what is next for me," added Mr Yuen.

But right now, he said, his daughter needs him the most, and he has been visiting her in the hospital every day.

Yu En is now in an incubator at the neonatal intensive care unit, but he is not sure how long she will remain there, he added.

On Monday, Mr Yuen's sister, Nicole, wrote to online donations portal Giving.sg to consider setting up a charity that will raise funds and donations of milk for the baby.

The family has received an outpouring of support from the public, including offers to donate breast milk.

But Mr Yuen clarified yesterday that his baby does not need any donations of breast milk for now.

Giving.sg is currently matching the family's needs to a charity to help with the campaign.

"I know the public is very concerned. There are a lot of people coming to me in a lot of ways, and we are very grateful," said Mr Yuen.

But he added that what the family needs most now is time and space, and that he hopes for closure over the incident.

• Those who wish to help may contact Jurong Spring Community Club at pa_jurongspringcc@pa.gov.sg

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on May 17, 2017, with the headline ''I have to be her dad and mum''. Print Edition | Subscribe