Chest wounds dangerous

Stab wounds to the chest are especially hazardous because the injury is close to many vital organs, said Dr Timothy Tan.

The resident physician at Raffles Medical 24-hour Emergency Services said the heart and lungs are at greatest risk of damage if the injury is inflicted on the upper chest area.

The victim of the Potong Pasir attack was stabbed in the chest, missing his heart by just 3cm.

This is the area through which the body's main arteries run, Dr Tan said.

"If the victim had not received immediate medical attention, he could have died from heavy bleeding," he added,

A weapon like a kitchen knife piercing the chest can also break the rib bones, which in turn can puncture the lungs.

He said a victim's life can be saved if one of the lungs is punctured, and he is treated by a medical professional as soon as possible.

A stab wound directly to the heart can be fatal because of the amount of blood that passes through it.

The same goes for the spleen, another vital organ that stores a lot of blood, Dr Tan added.

Attacks to the lower chest area, between the lower breast and the navel, can potentially harm the kidney and the intestines. The bladder could also be damaged if the weapon penetrates the body at an angle.