One-armed girl can peel mandarin oranges

Like many other children during Chinese New Year, Lai Yok Shan was in a happy mood, showing off her ang pow and peeling Mandarin oranges before eating them.

But the bubbly girl is no ordinary child. She has only one arm. She lost her left arm due to medical negligence in a case that attracted huge media and public attention.

Yok Shan's ordeal began soon after her premature birth in July 2007.

A houseman at the Tengku Ampuan Rahimah Hospital (HTAR) in Klang inserted an intravenous needle into a muscle instead of a blood vessel when she was placed in an incubator.

Her arm soon turned gangrenous and eventually dropped off.

But today, the resilient little girl is a picture of health and happiness.

Her father, mechanic Lai Kian Khee, 26, said that despite her disability Yok Shan has learned to cope well and could even peel oranges.

"She would place an orange on the table, hold it down with her left stub and uses her right hand to peel the fruit," said Lai when met at a friend's home yesterday.

Sporting a red Chinese New Year dress and matching red ribbons on her hair, Yok Shan, who will be three this July, smiled and shook hands with those who had come to visit her.

Lai also said he and his wife Nut Tuemthong could now plan their daughter's future as a settlement had already been reached with the government.

Lai and his wife declined to disclose the amount but it is believed Yok Shan also received a generous compensation in addition to a lump sum payment for her prosthesis which will need to be replaced once every few years.

Her parents are planning to fit Yok Shan with her first prosthesis soon.

"We are thinking of getting her a mechanical arm from Thailand when she reaches four but we may wait until she reaches 12 if she is uncomfortable with it," said Lai.

Lai said they decided to get the prosthesis from Thailand as it was cheaper and more functional.

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