Cook's foot hanging by tendons after horrific crash

She was seated at the back of a van that was parked by the side of the road when she saw a taxi swerving in her direction.

To her horror, it hit a car parked 2m away, which pushed the vehicle forward.

The next thing she knew, she was lying on the road with her right foot dangling from her leg.

Madam Jamaliah Yacob, 61, told The New Paper: "I screamed my lungs out for help. I have never been in that much pain in my entire life.

"I couldn't even look at my foot. I just felt it hanging from my leg."

Surgeons operated on her reattached her foot to her leg.

The accident happened on Monday at about 4am in front of Geylang Serai Market, along Changi Road.

Madam Jamaliah had gone there with her uncle, Mr Ahmad, 78, who drove the van.

The cook, who works in a canteen at St Joseph's Institution International, goes there daily to get raw ingredients before her work starts at 6am.

After Mr Ahmad parked the van by the side of the road, Madam Jamaliah opened the back door of the van and took a seat.

"It was so early in the morning and I was tired so I sat at the back of the van with my legs dangling out," said the mother of five.

That was when she saw a taxi speeding from a distance. The car that it hit was parked just metres from the van.

"That was the last thing saw. After that, everything was a blur," said Madam Jamaliah.

COLLAPSED

She said the car's licence plate severed her right foot. The piercing pain caused her to collapse between the two vehicles.

She said her left foot was also severely injured.

Madam Jamaliah said that the driver of the car was nowhere near the scene.

Some shopkeepers gathered around her, although no one was sure of what to do.

Madam Jamaliah was also concerned about her uncle, who had been sitting in the passenger seat with the door open at the time.

"I saw that he was flung out from the van. He's old, so I was very worried about his condition," she said.

A shopkeeper from a nearby stall, Mr Rashidi Rashid, 39, said he was opening his shop when he heard a loud bang.

"When I saw the taxi and the car from afar, I thought it was just a normal accident. But I was so shocked when I saw a woman lying on the road in a pool of blood," he said.

"She looked so pale and her foot looked like it was hanging by a thread," said Mr Rashidi.

Another witness, shop assistant Mohd Hanafi Hasni, 21, told The New Paper that he heard a woman's plea for help right after the loud bang.

"She was crying. We just told her to calm down because if we moved her, it could worsen her injuries," he said.

The police were alerted to the accident at about 4.05am and established that an accident involving a van, a car and a taxi had occurred. No arrest has been made.

The Singapore Civil Defence Force said it sent one ambulance to the scene and a woman in her 60s was taken conscious to Changi General Hospital.

Said Madam Jamaliah: "When the ambulance arrived, they injected something into my leg to lessen the pain.

"When they moved me to the stretcher, that's when I saw that my foot was hanging onto my leg only by some bloody tendons."

Her uncle suffered minor bruises and sought medical treatment at a polyclinic.

She keeps extent of injury from husband

Madam Jamaliah Yacob told The New Paper she had three operations on Monday to reattach her foot.

"They inserted a metal (rod) to secure my foot to my leg. They said after two weeks, if my condition worsens, they might have to amputate it," she said.

She intends to keep the news of the potential loss of her foot from her husband, Mr Mohd Nordin, 69, for as long as she can.

Mr Mohd, who retired after he suffered a stroke on the left side of his body in 2010, uses a wheelchair and can only walk short distances.

"He can walk from the bed to the toilet using a walking stick, but nothing further than that," said Madam Jamaliah.

Since then, she has taken on the role of primary caregiver as they do not live with their children.

"As I was lying on the road screaming for help, I thought of my husband and how I'm going to take care of him after this," she said.

When she was rushed to the hospital, she told the officers to inform her younger brother first before her husband.

Madam Jamaliah explained: "(My husband) has a weak heart and has not been well these few days. I was afraid the news was going to shock him, and then we both would be in the hospital."

"When he came and visited me on Monday, I was so sad because I couldn't tell him that I might be losing my right foot.

"I guess I'll just slowly ease him into it," she said.

St Joseph's Institution (SJI) International has also expressed its concern over the incident.

Madam Jamaliah has worked at the school as a cook since late 2009.

Principal Bradley Roberts announced to the students and teaching staff on Tuesday morning that a collection will be started.

LOVED

Brother Lawrence Humphrey, the Brother President of SJI International, said: "Kakak (sister in Malay) Jamaliah endeared herself to our students and staff with her genuine care, good spirit and love, and those are the same feelings this school community has for her.

"We are waiting for a medical prognosis and to find out the long-term implications for her, and will try our best to support her."

When TNP visited Madam Jamaliah at Changi General Hospital yesterday afternoon, she was groggy but heartened by the visit.

"I don't want sympathy from others. I just want to be well so that I can take care of my husband," she said.

fnawang@sph.com.sg

This article was first published on February 18, 2016.
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