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How did it turn bad so quickly?

Although frostbite is common in colder climates, it rarely happens in Singapore. General practitioner Dr Leong Choon Kit of the Mission Clinic in Serangoon, who is trained in public health, explained how this was possible and what led to Mr Ng Hoe Ghee needing to have his finger amputated.

FROSTBITE

"This usually occurs in a very cold environment where one's blood vessels get smaller and there is not enough blood flowing through to bring oxygen to the tissues," Dr Leong said.

After a period of restricted blood flow, cell tissues die, leading to frostbite.

He said that other reasons such as high cholesterol can also contribute to one's blood vessels getting constricted.

DIABETES

"While there's a low chance that diabetes had caused the infection in his finger, the condition hampers the body from healing itself, which could have led to the...gangrene," he said.

The blister and pus on Mr Ng's finger were signs that his body was trying to fight off an infection.

"His amputation came about due to a combination of factors.

"It probably wasn't so serious in the beginning, but his delay in seeking medical treatment, combined with his health problems, formed the 'perfect storm'," said Dr Leong.