SGH employee praised for helping elderly man stranded on Chinatown overhead bridge for 3 hours

Singapore General Hospital housekeeper Isvari N Veloo was commended for helping a 90-year-old man who was stranded on an overhead bridge.
Singapore General Hospital housekeeper Isvari N Veloo was commended for helping a 90-year-old man who was stranded on an overhead bridge.PHOTOS: JONATHAN MENG SUM LEE/FACEBOOK

SINGAPORE - An elderly man was stuck on an overhead bridge in Chinatown for three hours last Saturday (July 6), after he climbed a flight of stairs and suddenly lost strength in his legs.

Ms Felicia Lee, 62, told The Straits Times on Tuesday that her 90-year-old father was heading home at about 8am when the muscles in his legs cramped and "locked".

He was left stranded on the overhead bridge near the myCK department store and unable to move, until an employee of the Singapore General Hospital (SGH) managed to help him down the stairs, she said.

Ms Lee's brother, Jonathan, left a post on SGH's Facebook page later on Saturday to commend SGH housekeeper Isvari N. Veloo for her kind actions.

In his post, he said that while there were many concerned passers-by who offered help, not many knew the best way to support his elderly father.

"Without her assistance and guidance, I think my sisters and our father would have been stranded on that bridge for a much longer time on a very humid and warm day," he wrote in the post, which also included a photo of Madam Veloo.

"The perspiration and her broad and genuine smile really touched the heart of my family."

Ms Lee told ST that her father was visiting her mother, who runs a porridge stall in Chinatown, that day.

This was a routine that he often does alone, as he enjoys being active and independent, she added.

Her family became aware that her father was in trouble after a passer-by recognised him, and came looking for her mother at her stall.

Speaking to ST over the phone on Wednesday, Madam Veloo said that she approached Mr Lee after she noticed that nobody was able to help him for some time.

By then, some of Mr Lee's family members were already there.

Mr Lee declined to get paramedics to help, and so Madam Veloo came up with the idea of carrying Mr Lee down the overhead bridge with a chair.

"I thought of this as I remembered how I took care of my mother," said the 52-year-old, who has been with SGH for 16 years.

"He was able to sit on the chair, and together with a few other people, we could slowly carry him down to the ground."

When they got to the bottom of the stairs, they also managed to borrow a chair with wheels, so that Mr Lee's family members could push him to the side of the road for him to get transport home.

Madam Veloo said that Mr Lee and his family had thanked her profusely after that, and even gave her a hug.

And while she does not have a Facebook account, she has heard about the post on SGH's page going viral from colleagues and friends.

As of Wednesday afternoon, the Facebook post has received at least 3,600 likes and over 1,100 shares.

"I did not expect to see such positive reactions. I feel that it is natural to help others, regardless whether they are patients or not," she added.

She added that she was happy that her actions were recognised and had made her employer, family and friends proud.

Ms Lee, who works as a senior buyer in the aerospace industry, said that her father is doing well, but has been resting at home since the incident. She added that they may think twice about letting him go out alone in the future.

"We are really grateful for Madam Veloo's help, and it shows that we can be more gracious as a society and do more to help other people who are in need," she said.

SGH deputy director of environmental services Lee Ewe Choon described Madam Veloo as a genuinely caring person who is always ready to lend others a helping hand.

"Her kindness and care for people clearly extend beyond the hospital. She is truly an inspiration for us all," she said.