NUH patient narrowly escapes injury from falling ceiling board

PHOTO: NUH patient narrowly escapes injury from falling ceiling board

SINGAPORE - She was adjusting her pillow on her hospital bed when a ceiling board came crashing down behind her, where her face would have been if she was lying down.

Fortunately, housewife Chua Kah Eng, 63, escaped unhurt.

The incident occurred at National University Hospital (NUH) at about 8pm on a Monday late last month.

Madam Chua was at the hospital for a follow-up operation, after suffering a fall at home in January.

She was warded on June 14 and was supposed to be discharged on a Monday late last month. But her blood pressure was low and the doctors recommended that she remain in hospital for another night.

There were about four other patients in the ward at that time.

Madam Chua, who had undergone an earlier operation at NUH after her fall, said she was feeling warm and she had sat up to adjust her pillow when the ceiling board fell behind her.

So scared

She said: "It was very loud and I was so scared that I couldn't sleep that night."

The impact of the falling board caused a pitcher of water on a side table to fall. The board broke into small pieces.

Madam Chua said some nurses came to check that she was not injured and she was moved to another bed.

An NUH spokesman confirmed this.

Her husband came to check on her an hour later. Workers had replaced the board at about the time her husband arrived.

Looking back at the incident, she said: "I can't believe how precise the timing was and I'm very fortunate that I wasn't injured. Imagine if it had fallen on my face."

Her doctors also came to make sure that she was not injured before she was discharged the next day.

Madam Chua said the hospital has since called her to apologise for the incident and has given her a fruit basket as a token of goodwill.

In response to the incident, an NUH spokesman said: "This was an isolated incident caused by a leaking water pipe that caused the ceiling board to become damp and give way. The piping has since been replaced."

Madam Chua intends to put the incident behind her.

She said: "It's over already and what is more important is that no one was injured. I just hope something like this doesn't happen again."

ajtheng@sph.com.sg


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