Spa staff slammed after woman dies from steam bath

SINGAPORE - A State Coronor has criticised staff of skincare centre, Derma Flora, for their delay in calling for an ambulance after a customer fainted in a steam bath.

The customer, Madam Loh Yoke Chan (above), 73, was found unconscious by a beautician in a steam bath at the Jurong East centre last March, reported The Straits Times.

State Coroner Imran Abdul Hamid said he was saddened that none of the staff called for an ambulance when according to a manager, they were trained on safety and emergency matters.

Instead, staff called the woman's daughter, Ms Elizabeth Tan, 37, twice, and went to seek help from a nearby clinic and a traditional Chinese medicine practitioner.

By the time an ambulance did arrive 40 minutes later, it was too late.

Madam Loh was unresponsive and died of multi-organ failure eight days later. She suffered burns on her lower limbs when admitted to hospital.

However, investigations could not prove that the delay had contributed significantly to the cause of death.

Calling their delay "a blunder", he added that the delay was because staff had "panicked" and were waiting for one another to decide what to do.

A the inquest, the court heard that Madam Loh had difficulty breathing when she arrived at the centre close to 5pm.

She had a history of high cholesterol and diabetes and suffered from hypertension, among other chronic conditions.

Madam Loh, a hair salon owner, was a regular customer and had been to the spa about 10 times before the incident.

At about 5.20pm, a beautician called out to Madam Loh but received no response. She found Madam Loh unconscious, half lying on the floor and half-leaning against the wall of the steam bath cubicle.

The coroner said Madam Loh's injuries were due to steam burns received inside a steam bath cubicle during a treatment session.

She died after developing complications from the burns and heat stroke that resulted in multi-organ failure.

candicec@sph.com.sg

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