NSF injured in Taiwan completes successful second op

In a photo taken on May 14, 2013, a string of parachutes bloom behind the C-130 Hercules.
In a photo taken on May 14, 2013, a string of parachutes bloom behind the C-130 Hercules.PHOTO: ST FILE

A Singapore Armed Forces (SAF) full-time national serviceman (NSF) who suffered a cervical spine injury while on parachute training in Taiwan has successfully completed a second operation without complications, the Ministry of Defence (Mindef) said yesterday.

Private Joshua Quek Shou Jie, 21, underwent the planned sur-gery on Dec 21 to stabilise his cervical spine. The first operation on Dec 19 had also proceeded with-out complications.

He had suffered a cervical spine injury on Dec 18 during unilateral parachute training in Taiwan. The injury resulted in "neurological deficits including weakness of his upper and lower limbs", said Mindef.

"Some partial recovery of motor functions has taken place since the second surgery, but Pte Quek will require continued rehabilitation and physiotherapy for long-term recovery as well as to reduce the damage from the injury," it said in a statement.

Pte Quek's family had been flown in to visit him at the hospital. He is currently breathing without assistance, conscious, alert and conversing with his family, said Mindef.

The Chief Commando Officer, Colonel Kenny Tay, visited and spoke with Pte Quek and his family at the hospital.

In the statement, he said: "Joshua is a dedicated soldier who has always given his best. We will give our fullest support to him and his family while he recovers from his injuries."

It was not stated which unit Pte Quek is serving in, but the SAF commando unit - one of the army's elite units - conducts compulsory airborne training.

Mindef said the family appreciated the concern shown by members of the public but have requested that their privacy be respected.


"Mindef and the Singapore Armed Forces will continue to render full assistance to Pte Quek and his family, and will arrange for Pte Quek's return to Singapore when he is medically fit to do so," it added.

Dr Charles Siow, a neurologist at Mount Elizabeth Novena Hospital with more than 10 years of experience in the field, told The Straits Times that the partial recovery of motor functions was a good sign. "We have limited information to judge in this case, but it seems like the serviceman is able to move his arms and legs but is still weak," he said.

In an earlier statement, Mindef said the SAF had suspended the type of training Pte Quek was doing across the SAF, pending the outcome of investigations.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on January 03, 2020, with the headline 'NSF injured in Taiwan completes successful second op'. Subscribe