S'porean in Taipei water park fire transferred to SGH

Singaporean burn victim Megan Loy arrives at Singapore General Hospital at about 6.15am on 30 June, 2015. She was hurt in the fire at Taipei water park which injured more than 500 people.

Singaporean Megan Loy, who was injured in the Taipei water park fire, arrived in Singapore early yesterday morning and was taken straight from the airport to Singapore General Hospital (SGH) in an ambulance.

The 18-year-old, wheeled in on a stretcher, was covered in full-body bandages. She was accompanied by her father, Mr Joseph Loy.

He told The Straits Times that his daughter is in a stable condition now. "I have been speaking to her every day."

His distraught wife and another daughter made visits in the afternoon but declined to speak to the media.

The Singapore Trade Office in Taipei said in a statement that it had facilitated the evacuation late on Monday evening.

"She was evacuated to Singapore for further medical treatment and we continue to be in contact with her family," said its spokesman.

Ms Loy suffered serious burns on up to 50 per cent of her body and was in intensive care at Taipei Medical University Shuang-Ho Hospital over the weekend.

She was at the annual Colour Play Asia festival at the Formosa Fun Coast water park on the outskirts of Taipei when a blaze occurred last Saturday night.

The excursion was meant to be part of a celebratory graduation trip with three of her friends from Dulwich College Shanghai, an international school.

The fire, believed to have been started by the explosion of coloured powder thrown on partygoers, claimed its first victim on Monday. Taiwanese Lee Pei-yun, 20, died after suffering second-degree burns on more than 90 per cent of her body.

According to statistics from the health department of the New Taipei City government on Monday, 494 people were injured in the accident, with Ms Lee the sole fatality so far.

Some 267 patients were still warded in intensive care units as of late Monday.

Specialists told The Straits Times that many of these victims face an uphill battle.

Dr Gavin Ong, a dermatologist at The Skin Specialist, a Singapore Medical Group clinic, said: "For severe burns involving 50 per cent of the body, mortality can be high.

"(Patients) also face a myriad of complications affecting major organ systems.

"Their airways may be compromised, skin wound infections may develop, and they may lose large volumes of fluid from affected skin areas. This can in turn cause other problems, such as kidney failure."

Dr Chua Jun Jin, a plastic surgeon at Mount Elizabeth Medical Centre, said skin grafting is the most likely treatment option for severe-burn victims, with multiple operations to remove burnt tissue required before skin grafting begins.

He added that the entire recovery process - including scar treatment and physiotherapy - could take between three and five years.

This article was first published on July 1, 2015. Get a copy of The Straits Times or go to straitstimes.com for more stories.