Man behind viral video defends nursing home

PHOTO: Man behind viral video defends nursing home

SINGAPORE - The man behind the hidden-camera video taken at Nightingale Nursing Home has said he did not intend to get the home in trouble.

He told the Straits Times he released the footage only because he wanted to get his mother out of the nursing home to live with him.

The secretly-recorded video has created a furore since it was broadcast on MediaCorp Thursday.

The clip, recorded last November, showed Madam Peh Siew Lay, 75, being roughly handled by care workers.

Madam Peh is seen sitting on a chair fully naked, before two carers are shown throwing her onto the bed.

Another worker was also seen slapping Madam Peh's mouth.

The man who captured the footage is Madam Peh's younger son, a delivery man who only wants to be known as Mr Toh.

Mr Toh, 42, told Straits Times reporters yesterday that he released the video just so he could get his mother out of the home to live with him.

His elder brother, who is Madam Peh's legal guardian, had refused Mr Toh's request for their mother to stay with him.

According to their sister, Madam Toh, 49, the brothers have differing views on Madam Peh's care.

'My younger brother felt my mother would have more freedom if she was at home, but my elder brother felt she was better off at a nursing home with professional care,' she told the Straits Times.

Mr Toh tried to find an excuse to get her out.

Mr Toh said he noticed cuts on Madam Peh's legs during one of his visits. He then installed a hidden camera on an alarm clock placed at Madam Peh's bedside.

Handed footage to media after being frustrated with brother

He handed the footage to MediaCorp in March, after becoming frustrated at his brother's refusal to let their mother stay with him.

In a statement on Thursday night, the Ministry of Health said it had completed its investigations into the video, and concluded there were 'significant lapses in the care standards' provided to the patient, and 'this should not have happened'.

Nightingale has been suspended from admitting new patients until further notice, effective from April 12.

But Mr Toh now says he is overwhelmed by the reactions of the public after the release of the video.

'All I wanted was to get my mother out of a nursing home so she can stay with me. I didn't want to get Nightingale into trouble," he said, speaking in Mandarin to Straits Times reporters yesterday.

Mr Toh also defended the actions of the care workers, saying his mother was naked in one scene because "she had just taken a shower, so they let her sit in the chair for awhile".

"The way they carried my mother to the bed was understandable too, since they didn't have a proper hospital bed that can be lowered for her," he said.

Mr Toh also described the slap as a "gesture of affection between friends" after having stayed at the home for four years, reported the Straits Times.

In earlier TV news reports, Mr Toh was quoted as saying he was unhappy with the way his mother was treated, and had exposed the matter so the home could improve its care standards.

Madam Peh has been staying at the Orange Valley Nursing Home in Woodlands since January.

According to a Nightingale spokesperson, the carer who slapped Madam Peh's mouth has quit. The other two, both Filipinas, have been disciplined and are still working at the Braddell Road home.