Raffles Hospital removes public benches after passer-by is bitten by bugs


SINGAPORE - Raffles Hospital has removed benches from the public area of its premises after a passer-by was bitten by bugs.

Mr Zhu Rai Mi, 49, was bitten by what looked like bedbugs when he stopped to sit on a bench in the indoor public area of the hospital around 12.45pm on Friday (Jan 4).

He took three videos - two showing the bugs crawling on the benches and one in which security guards were examining the benches - and sent them to citizen journalism website Stomp.

The fire safety manager told The Straits Times that he was going for lunch on Friday when he sat down on one of the three benches near the ambulance entrance of the hospital to reply his e-mails.

The other two benches were occupied at the time.

"I felt this biting feeling on my back, and I thought it was just an itch but it started getting worse," he said.

When he used his phone's torchlight to look at the bench more closely, he found what looked like a bedbug stuck in the crevices of the bench.

There were at least 10 other bugs crawling on the surface of the bench, he said.

Mr Zhu alerted the security guards to the bugs and the benches were removed by the time he had returned from his lunch break around 2pm on Friday.

He did not see a doctor for the bites, but he had "three or four red bites" on his back after the incident, Mr Zhu said.

In response to queries, a Raffles Hospital spokesman confirmed that the benches had been removed.

"Regular checks are done to ensure the health and safety of the public," the spokesman said.

"The hospital will render assistance to the affected party if needed."