Thai girl in MRT accident gets new legs

Five months after losing both legs in a serious accident in Singapore, 14-year-old Nitcharee Pen-eakchanasak is now learning to walk again.

"It hurts when my flesh rubs against the prosthetic legs. Yet, I am so glad I am able to walk around now", the Thai girl said.

While a student in Singapore, Nitcharee fell from a platform of the underground rail system and was hit by an incoming train on April 3, losing both legs.

Nitcharee received help from HRH Princess Maha Chakri Sirindhorn, who instructed the Department of Medical Sciences (DMS) to fit her with C-leg prostheses. Each C-leg costs Bt1.2 million (S$49,200).

"She is now able to walk safely for a distance of a few hundred metres," DMS chief Dr Rewat Wisarutwet said yesterday.

Nitcharee has undergone physical rehabilitation at the Sirindhorn National Medical Rehabilitation Centre every day. The sessions are designed to ensure she will be able to use the prosthetic legs safely.

"I think she'll be able to walk almost normally and with greater confidence within six months," Dr Pansak Tansakul said, in his capacity as doctor in charge of Nitcharee.

The girl's father Kitthanet Pen-eakchanasak drives her to the school where she has found happiness amid caring relationships with teachers and classmates.

"They are helpful. The school is much fun," Nitcharee said.

Her father is suing the rail operator in Singapore, seeking $3.4 million (S$4.2 million) in compensation. But he has faced a counter-suit and it was reported that the island-state's rail operator may sue Nitcharee.

Kitthanet said Nitcharee would need to get new prosthetic legs every five years, which would require a lot of money.