Man saved by SBS duo's swift action

Station manager Fong Sai Weng and assistant station manager Abdul Azim Abdul Azizam visiting Mr Cheong Weng Kuen in hospital on Friday. Mr Cheong made a plaque and presented it to the SBS Transit duo to thank them.
Station manager Fong Sai Weng and assistant station manager Abdul Azim Abdul Azizam visiting Mr Cheong Weng Kuen in hospital on Friday. Mr Cheong made a plaque and presented it to the SBS Transit duo to thank them.ST PHOTO: SONG TAO

Volunteer worker Cheong Weng Kuen was waiting at the Hougang MRT station platform on June 28 when his vision became blur and he passed out. When the 63-year-old regained consciousness, he was lying in the intensive care unit of Tan Tock Seng Hospital - unaware that he had suffered a heart attack.

Mr Cheong could have lost his life if not for the swift action of SBS Transit staff, who administered cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR) and used an automated external defibrillator (AED) to revive him.

Recounting the event, station manager Fong Sai Weng, 56, said a customer service assistant working at the platform level told him at about 9.30am that a man had fainted. "I rushed down with a first-aid box... He was lying motionless in front of the platform screen door. I felt for his pulse but there was none. He also appeared to be gasping for air," Mr Fong said on Friday.

He asked a staff member to get the AED, and for assistant station manager, Mr Abdul Azim Abdul Azizam, 34, to start performing CPR. Mr Abdul Azim said: "A female passenger helped me, taking over when I felt tired. When you practise on a dummy, you don't feel the pressure, but on a real person, I felt very tense."

After a few minutes of CPR, the AED was used. The AED analyses the cardiac rhythms of a patient, and treats him by applying an electric shock. Mr Fong said he felt Mr Cheong's pulse return after the electric shock was administered. An ambulance took him to hospital.

Mr Fong and Mr Abdul Azim visited Mr Cheong on Friday for the second time, and both expressed relief that he was doing better. Mr Cheong had undergone surgery to remove a blockage in his artery. He has a second operation scheduled for tomorrow to remove a second blockage.

Mr Cheong's wife, Madam Ow Sow Lin, 60, said in Mandarin: "It was a 'fortune in the misfortune' that my husband collapsed at the MRT station, and received help from the staff." Madam Ow, who works in the insurance industry, added: "He could have died if he had passed out alone at home, as I had left for work that morning."

Mr Cheong said: "I'm very touched by what Mr Fong and Mr Abdul Azim did for me."

Adrian Lim

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Sunday Times on July 08, 2018, with the headline 'Man saved by SBS duo's swift action'. Print Edition | Subscribe