Elderly widow's severed hand won't be reattached

The elderly woman whose hand was severed in a lift accident will not have it reattached.

A friend of Madam Khoo Bee Hua said the 85-year-old underwent a four-hour surgery at the National University Hospital (NUH) late on Friday night to stitch the wound shut.

"She was wheeled out of the operating theatre only at 2am," the friend told Chinese evening daily Lianhe Wanbao, adding that though Madam Khoo appeared groggy, she was alert enough to greet visitors.

A neighbour, who wanted to be known only as Mr Lim, said he visited Madam Khoo in hospital and was told that the first thing she said to her son was: "My hand is gone."

When The Sunday Times visited NUH yesterday, her family members declined to speak to the media.

The incident occurred on Friday morning, as Madam Khoo was returning to her Jurong flat with her dog.

While it is still unclear what happened, The Sunday Times understands that the lift doors somehow shut on her hand, leaving the dog outside and Madam Khoo trapped within the lift.

The widow's left hand was found outside the lift by Singapore Civil Defence Force (SCDF) rescuers who had to prise open the doors to get her out.

The dog, which was found hanging outside the lift by its leash, was cut down from the lift doors by a neighbour and survived.

Use of the lift at Block 322, Tah Ching Road, has since been suspended.

Mr Ho Thian Poh, general manager of Jurong Town Council, which is in charge of maintaining the lift, said that this will likely remain the case for the next four or five days.

"Right now, we are making sure that the other lift is working fine," he said.

He added that he and a colleague went to the hospital on Friday evening, but did not get a chance to see how Madam Khoo was doing.

"We met her family members," he said. "They didn't say much as they were all in a state of shock and they requested privacy."

The 19-year-old lift had been serviced on Oct 1 as part of a monthly maintenance schedule and was certified to be in good working condition.

Safety devices that prevent the lift doors from closing were also shown to be working, an inspection after the accident found.

This article was first published on October 11, 2015.
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