'It hurts so much that I can tear up'

'It hurts so much that I can tear up'
PHOTO: The New Paper

He had picked up some goods for his shop and was riding home with his girlfriend on his motorcycle when he suddenly saw a taxi hurtling towards him.

The next thing he knew, he had fallen onto the road after the taxi had hit his motorcycle.

The taxi then ran over his right leg, crushing it.

As he writhed in unbearable pain, that fateful moment in July last year left Mr Quek Choon Hock with a sickening feeling that things would never be the same again.

A year later, Mr Quek, 61, still sits behind the counter of his mobile phone and cigarette shop in Upper Boon Keng Road Market as he has done for the past nine years.

But since the accident on July 15 last year, his life has been one of agony.

The lower half of his right leg had to be amputated and he is still plagued by pain.

EXCRUCIATING

He wears a prosthetic leg and uses a crutch to get around, but even a short walk to the toilet at the market, just a few metres away, can be excruciating.

Mr Quek told The New Paper in Mandarin: "The pain comes and goes, but sometimes, it hurts so much I can't even stand up. It hurts so much that I tear up."

The taxi driver, Ishak Ismail, 59, was jailed for two weeks on Wednesday after pleading guilty to one charge of causing grievous hurt by acting negligently as to endanger human life.

He was also disqualified from driving for three years.

When TNP told Mr Quek about the sentencing yesterday, he said he was not satisfied.

"He hasn't visited me or even apologised," he said.

His girlfriend, Ms Chua Bee Toon, 54, was also upset with Ishak over their suffering after the accident.

"Tell him (Ishak) to give back the leg (to Mr Quek)," she added.

Mr Quek said that on that day, he had been heading to Boon Keng from Whampoa when Ishak's taxi slammed into him at the junction of Lavender Street and Serangoon Road.

It was only after passers-by chased after him that Ishak stopped the taxi, Mr Quek claimed.

His right foot was mangled and he had to undergo immediate surgery once he and Ms Chua were taken to Tan Tock Seng Hospital (TTSH). He had fractures in his right thigh, his left foot, his right forearm and left hand.

Mr Quek, who was still conscious at the time, said the doctor told him there was no way they could save his lower right leg.

It had to be amputated and he was resigned to losing part of his limb.

"The next morning, when I woke up, half my leg was gone," he said.

A metal rod was inserted into his thigh to support the fractured bone.

He was in the intensive care unit at TTSH for about two weeks before he was moved to Ang Mo Kio Community Hospital, where he spent a month recuperating and undergoing physiotherapy.

In December, Mr Quek has to return to the Foot Care and Limb Design Centre at TTSH for a follow-up.

Meanwhile, he continues with his routine, opening his shop at 5am and closing at 6pm.

But Ms Chua, who fractured her right leg in the accident and also had to have a metal rod inserted into her thigh, said their daily life has not been the same since the accident.

Ms Chua, who lives with Mr Quek, said: "There is always a difference after the injury.

"I can't squat or sit down for too long, otherwise I need help getting up. Sometimes my legs will go weak.

"We can't go anywhere. We don't dare go anywhere crowded in case either of us falls down.

"I have to take care of him, he has to take care of me. If anything happens to us, who is going to take care of us? It's very inconvenient."

Although Mr Quek has four children and Ms Chua has three, she said they are all working and rarely have time to help out.

"Our children have their own lives. They have to earn money, they have families to raise and children to feed," she said.

"We have to rely on ourselves."

EXPENSES

Since the accident, Mr Quek said he has had to fork out several thousand dollars on taxi fares, doctor's appointments and his prosthetic leg, which cost $700 after subsidies.

The bulk of the expenses from his and Ms Chua's operations and hospitalisations are still being processed by his lawyer, Mr Quek said.

"I'm not too worried about the money. I should still have some money in my CPF to cover some of the costs," he said.

Ms Chua was less sanguine.

With her injury, she cannot work part-time as she used to and she now helps out at Mr Quek's store.

She said: "Who would want to hire me? What if I fall down? It's better to be safe than sorry."

The couple said that so far, they have not heard any news about compensation or legal proceedings.

Their lawyer, Ms Catherine Lim, told TNP the case could take a few months to settle due to the severity of the couple's injuries and depending on the insurance company.

Ms Chua lamented: "If we don't get compensation, how do we pay the bills? It's in the thousands."

She hopes to use part of the insurance money to buy a better, more comfortable, prosthetic leg for Mr Quek.

She said: "Hopefully, the case can be closed soon so we can get some consolation.

"I don't want it to drag on any more.

Cabby gets two weeks' jail

Taxi driver Ishak Ismail, 59, was jailed for two weeks on Wednesday and disqualified from driving for three years.

He was convicted of causing grievous hurt by a negligent act that endangered the lives of Mr Quek Choon Hock and Ms Chua Bee Toon in the accident that happened at about 9.30pm on July 15 last year.

The court heard that Ishak was driving on Lavender Street towards Balestier Road when he failed to keep a proper lookout as he turned right at the junction of Serangoon Road.

At the time, the light was green without a right-turn green arrow and Ishak collided with Mr Quek's oncoming motorcycle, which was heading from Balestier Road to Lavender Street, and had the right of way.

The weather was fine and the road surface was clear.

Mr Quek and Ms Chua, who was riding pillion, fell on the road and one of the taxi tyres ran over Mr Quek's right leg.

Ishak's taxi stopped about 50m from the junction after the accident.

The taxi was missing its front licence plate and its front right bumper was dented, scratched and cracked.

The front and right side of Mr Quek's motorcycle were badly damaged and the front basket and left side were dented.


This article was first published on August 28, 2015.
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