Woman, 88, fears she may never walk again after losing foot in bus accident
She would take a bus to and from the market to buy groceries every morning.
Three times a week, in the afternoon, she would travel from her Woodlands Circle home to meet her friends in Toa Payoh and play cards.
Even at 88, Madam Ting Lan Kin, a retired widow who lives with her daughter's family, showed no signs of slowing down her active lifestyle.
But on Friday, she had a horrific accident after she took a bus to Woodlands Centre Road, which is almost 5km from her home.
She was about to step off the bus when it suddenly moved and sent her sprawling onto the road.
The rear wheel rolled over her left foot and crushed it. The injury was so serious that doctors had to amputate part of her left foot hours later.
Madam Ting's family are now worried that the sprightly matriarch, who has five children and two grandchildren, may never walk again.
SMRT said it has apologised to Madam Ting's family and suspended the bus driver.
Madam Ting had boarded SMRT bus service 913 to go to the market on Friday afternoon, said her son-in-law, Mr Alex Lee yesterday.
The 57-year-old construction company director said she had alighted from the rear exit of the bus at a bus stop on Woodlands Centre Road.
But the moment she placed her left foot on the ground, the bus suddenly moved off and she fell.
A passenger on the bus, Ms Lain Fong Fong, 38, said she suddenly heard people shouting for the bus driver to reverse the vehicle.
She alighted and saw Madam Ting sitting up and wailing in pain.
Ms Lain, who works in customer service, said: "I saw what happened to her foot and it was a terrifying sight. People were standing there, most of them not knowing what to do.
"But I felt so sorry for the elderly lady so I had no choice but to force myself to walk up to her and comfort her."
She added that other passengers and passers-by joined in to help. A man called for an ambulance.
"I had to keep my gaze on her face because, truthfully, I was terrified looking at her injury. It wasn't bleeding at first, but blood started coming out later."
Ms Lain said she looked through Madam Ting's wallet and called her family.
The wait for the ambulance seemed like forever, though paramedics reached the scene in under five minutes, she added.
A Singapore Civil Defence Force spokesman said it received a call for assistance at 12.55pm.
When paramedics arrived, they found that Madam Ting's leg was crushed. She was taken to Khoo Teck Puat Hospital.
Mr Lee said that doctors amputated part of his mother-in-law's left foot, including the toes, in a five-hour operation.
When TNP visited Madam Ting in the hospital yesterday, she smiled and nodded at us.
Her left foot was heavily bandaged and a tube, which looked to be draining blood, was attached to it.
When we asked her about her injury, she looked down and slowly shook her head.
Mr Lee said that she was devastated by the injury as she fears that she will not be able to walk again.
"She said that she would rather die than lose her leg. At first she refused to let doctors amputate her foot. But we had no choice as the injury was too serious. Her skin was all torn off and the bones were exposed.
"She wants to keep up her lifestyle. She has also been crying non-stop because of the pain," he said.
Mr Lee added that she will be transferred to Singapore General Hospital today and doctors will assess her condition.
"If suitable, they will try to perform a skin graft operation using skin and veins from the back of the neck.
"But there's also a possibility they might have to amputate more of her leg - up to her knee," he said.
It could take months of rehabilitation and physiotherapy before Madam Ting is discharged, he added.
"We're frustrated, saddened and shocked by what happened," he said, adding that SMRT staff had visited them in hospital and apologised.
"We're worried that she may never walk again because she's not one who likes being cooped up at home.
"Right now, we're just hoping for the best for her," he said.
At first she refused to let doctors amputate her foot. But we had no choice as the injury was too serious.
- Mr Alex Lee on his mother-in-law's condition
SMRT SAYS SORRY, DRIVER SUSPENDED
SMRT has apologised to Madam Ting Lan Kin's family over the accident, said SMRT's head of corporate marketing and communications, Ms Margaret Teo.
Last Friday, Madam Ting seriously injured her left leg while getting off SMRT bus service 913 at a bus stop at Woodlands Centre Road, near Marsiling MRT station.
The bus driver and members of the public rendered first aid to Madam Ting while waiting for an ambulance to arrive. Ms Teo added that SMRT officials have met Madam Ting's son and will help them "as best as we can".
"We are sorry for the distress and inconvenience caused to passengers and passers-by who may have been affected by the incident," Ms Teo said. The bus driver has been suspended and is assisting with investigations.
OTHER BUS MISHAPS
A 71-year-old woman was injured as she was alighting from a bus at Marsiling Drive.
Madam Ang Kim Seng was on her way home from the market when the accident happened.
As she alighted from SMRT bus service 903 in front of Block 23, she sustained a deep cut about a quarter the size of an adult's palm on her right foot.
A passenger called for an ambulance while another tried to contact Madam Ang's next-of-kin.
Madam Ang was taken to Khoo Teck Puat Hospital.
Madam Nancy Teo, 70, was on SMRT bus service number 106 when she lost her grip on the grab bar she was holding and fell onto the stairs next to her.
The bus had been making a right turn from Clementi to Bukit Batok on July 18.
The retiree, who was heading St Luke's hospital in Bukit Batok to deliver lunch to her sister, slammed her head against a metal pole, causing it to bleed profusely.
A female passenger tended to the wound using wads of tissue paper. Madam Teo ended up with six stitches on the back of her head.
Madam Rukiah Saibu, 67, was thrown off her seat while on board SBS service 15 at about 7am on Oct 24.
She hit her head against the door and fractured her left hand.
The mother of four said the bus stopped after she fell and the driver and a male passenger helped her back to her seat.