Medical care given was adequate, but could be improved: Ng Eng Hen

The medical care provided to late actor Aloysius Pang was adequate but could be improved, said Defence Minister Ng Eng Hen in Parliament yesterday, adding though that it did not cause or contribute to the death.

Dr Ng was reporting some of the findings of the independent Committee of Inquiry (COI) set up to investigate the circumstances of Corporal First Class (NS) Pang's death.

The COI found that the incident was due to the lapses of all three servicemen inside the Singapore Self-Propelled Howitzer.

CFC Pang, 28, an operationally ready national serviceman (NSman) who was an armament technician with the 268th Battalion Singapore Artillery, died on Jan 23, four days after suffering injuries during Exercise Thunder Warrior in New Zealand.

After being crushed by the gun barrel at around 7pm (New Zealand time) on Jan 19, he was evacuated at 7.10pm to the Battalion Casualty Station, where he was assessed and stabilised.

At 7.50pm, he was evacuated to Waiouru Base Medical Centre, and two hours later, he was sent by helicopter to Waikato Hospital, a regional trauma centre in Hamilton, where he underwent surgery a number of times to treat his injuries.

Among suggestions from the COI was for medical officers - both full-time servicemen and NSmen - in relevant appointments to be more familiar with helicopter evacuation protocols. It said NSmen who are medical officers could also re-familiarise themselves with acute trauma care by being given temporary registration as observers in the emergency or surgery departments during call-ups.

 
 

Dr Ng said medical officers will be required to undergo refresher training on helicopter evacuation processes before deployment for overseas medical support.

"New initiatives will also be explored to enhance their exposure to acute trauma care," he added, without specifying the initiatives.

Lim Min Zhang

 
A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on May 07, 2019, with the headline 'Medical care given was adequate, but could be improved: Minister'. Print Edition | Subscribe