Man cracks egg on colleague's scalded back, but doctors warn...

SINGAPORE - It was a strange solution to an emergency situation.

Moments earlier on Monday, his fellow stall assistant - known as Mani to his colleagues - had been scalded when a pressure cooker lid popped, and the unnamed man jumped in to help.

He cracked an egg on Mani's back, hoping to relieve his colleague's agony, said an eyewitness who declined to be named.

Mani, believed to be an Indian national, is said to have kept screaming throughout the ordeal at Ayesha's Kitchen - a shop at industrial canteen Food Hub at Enterprise Hub, 48, Toh Guan Road East, in Boon Lay.

Medical professionals The New Paper spoke to said an egg is not a good idea.

For Mani, it had started out as just another morning, preparing Indian-Muslim food.

As usual, he was working with a pressure cooker behind him.

Then suddenly, at about 9am, as he was chopping vegetables, the cooker's lid popped, spurting boiling water and steam onto his back.

Scream

The stall assistant screamed and jumped up and down in agony, said the eyewitness.

"(Mani) was scalded and the injury looked bad.

The skin came off in a few areas," said the eyewitness.

That was when the egg came into the picture.

The Singapore Civil Defence Force said they received a call at about 9am and dispatched a fire engine, two fire bikes and an ambulance.

Upon arrival, they found no fire, but assessed that Mani was suffering from first and second degree burns.

Burns that affect only the superficial skin are known as superficial or first-degree burns.

When damage penetrates into some of the underlying layers, it is a partial-thickness or second-degree burn.

Mani was then rushed to the Singapore General Hospital.

When The New Paper visited the stall at about 4pm, it was business as usual.

Three stall assistants were busy preparing food, while customers queued.

Said Mr Mohd Kasim, 41, the stall's sales manager: "It was an unfortunate but minor incident."

Mr Kasim was not around at the time of the incident, but said he heard about it from his colleagues.

He added that they have since put the cooker away.

A neighbouring stall owner who declined to be named said she did not even know that Mani had suffered such an injury until much later.

"All I heard was shouting and didn't think much of it. I just continued operating my stall.

"I only found out what happened later when the ambulance came."

Food Hub owner Tan Seow Juay, 56, said the incident was caused by the lid of the pressure cooker coming loose.

Mr Tan said: "The lid wasn't working properly and that led to the leak of the boiling water and steam.

"Mani is recovering in hospital and everything is fine now. Everyone's back to their usual business."

Could have led to an infection

Emergency aid for burn wounds

To relieve his colleague's suffering, he cracked an egg and smeared it over the burnt skin.

But medical professionals The New Paper interviewed said the stall assistant at Ayesha's Kitchen should not have done so, even if his colleague was suffering from a serious burn to his back.

Dr Clarence Yeo, a general practitioner at Killiney Family and Wellness Clinic, said: "It's unusual, but there's no medical evidence to prove that eggs, toothpaste or vinegar do help burns.

"What is more important is to keep the victim away from the heat source, and to cool the affected area down as much as possible.

"The best method is to use cold water to try and reduce the temperature of the person's skin.

"Using an egg may help cool the burnt skin, but I wouldn't recommend it."

Special dressing

If the burn is serious, seek medical help immediately and leave the burnt area untouched, said Dr Yeo.

"Even medics have special dressings for burns because the area would have lost skin tissue and become prone to infection."

Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) physician Tan Say Leong, who has been practising since 1988, also said the use of an egg could have led to infection.

"You don't know how much bacteria could be on the egg or any other household item that you may think of using," he said in Mandarin.

"It could be dangerous as it could lead to the wound becoming infected."

Physician Tan also said TCM doesn't teach its practitioners to use household items like toothpaste or vinegar.

"I would personally recommend using burn cream or just cold water.

"Don't try anything else that may do more harm than good."

rloh@sph.com.sg


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