Couple hire lawyer over daughter's injury at PAP childcare centre

Shree Harini, aged three, was injured at a childcare centre while her parents were at work in January last year.

So began a dispute between her parents and the PAP Community Foundation (PCF), which runs the Little Wings childcare centre at Jurong West Street 42.

Shree Harini's mother, Madam Rajeshwari Pandi Rasan, claimed that she was not given any satisfactory reason or "even an apology" for the injury.

Upset by the "inaction", she and her husband have hired a lawyer, Mr G. Dinagaran, to seek compensation for their daughter's injuries and medical care.

Madam Rajeshwari told The New Paper: "I am not out to cause trouble. The childcare centre said it was going to investigate, but till today, I still don't know what exactly happened other than the fact that my daughter was severely injured.

"And although my daughter is now fit to attend kindergarten, at the end of the day, all I want is the truth."

A PCF spokesman said that it had explained to the parents the circumstances of the incident and was prepared to meet the child's medical expenses.

Relating her version of events, Madam Rajeshwari, 25, said that she and her husband, Mr Suresh Kumar, also 25, received a call from the childcare centre on Jan 31 last year.

"I was told that my daughter had hurt her toes, but one teacher told me it wasn't anything to worry about," she said, adding that she was informed that the centre had taken Shree Harini to a clinic but she was then referred to a hospital.

After the phone call, the couple went to the National University Hospital (NUH), where Shree Harini had been sent.

Madam Rajeshwari said she then found out that Shree Harini's injuries were far worse than they had been made out to be. The last toe on her right leg was badly injured.

"She was crying. I could only imagine the pain she was in," she said.

"But there was no bed available for her so we were referred to KK Women's and Children's Hospital (KKH). We took her there ourselves."

Doctors at KKH told the couple that their daughter's bone was fractured and the skin torn, she added.

The following month, the couple withdrew their daughter from the childcare centre.

Madam Rajeshwari quit her $1,500-a-month job as a receptionist to care for Shree Harini.

"We were told that her fractured bone needed six months to heal. That was how serious it was and that's why I quit my job," she said.

Madam Rajeshwari said she and her husband were still unsure of what had happened that day.

She claimed a teacher told her that Shree Harini had "kicked the door until she was badly hurt".

"But when I asked my daughter, she said a teacher slammed a door and hurt her foot," Madam Rajeshwari said.

"She was terrified of going to school after that so I had no choice but to quit my job to take care of her.

"Losing the income was difficult for us, but as a mother, I didn't feel good leaving my daughter alone with strangers after that."

The family, who live in a rented flat in Yishun, now get by on Mr Suresh's $1,500 monthly salary as a technician.

Madam Rajeshwari said that Shree Harini's medical bills have so far added up to $500, which the couple have settled.

All they received from the childcare centre was an insurance cheque for $110 in July last year and that was the last time they heard from them, she claimed.

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