Woman dies after TCM massage
Woman dies after massage at TCM clinic
Last Sunday, she told her mother that she would be home for dinner.
Ms Serene Lim (below), 27, had gone to Orchard Road in the afternoon to do some shopping and to go for a facial and a massage.
While waiting for her return, her family received a call from Tan Tock Seng Hospital at about 8pm, informing them that she was undergoing emergency treatment.
By the time the family arrived at the hospital, it was too late. Ms Lim had died at 8.47pm.
Her mother told Chinese daily Lianhe Wanbao that her daughter had gone for tuina therapy at a Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) clinic in Orchard Road.
During the TCM massage, Ms Lim, a former manager, slipped into a coma after experiencing body convulsions, the paper reported.
Two doctors contacted by The New Paper said that in general, there are no concerns with having massages if a person is healthy.
Ms Lim's mother, a part-time cleaner, told Lianhe Wanbao: "She was a filial daughter. She told us that in five years' time, we would not have to work any more."
Ms Lim, an only child, lived with her mother and her father, an air-con technician, at Hougang Avenue 1. She was due to start her new job at a bank the day after her death.
It is unclear if she had any health conditions.
At her wake yesterday evening, many guests in office attire lined up to pay their respects.
Her family members declined to be interviewed.
Lianhe Wanbao reported yesterday that a physician at the TCM clinic called the Singapore Civil Defence Force (SCDF) for assistance at around 7.30pm when Ms Lim became unconscious.
An SCDF spokesman told TNP that pending the arrival of an ambulance at the clinic, "dispatcher-assisted cardiac pulmonary resuscitation was initiated over the phone" with a person from the clinic.
The clinic owner, a physician and an employee were said to be helping with police investigations, reported Lianhe Wanbao.
The owner told the daily that it was Ms Lim's first visit to the clinic.
A police spokesman told TNP yesterday that a report had been made and investigations are ongoing.
Ill? Don't go for massages
Despite having a friend die on a massage table a few years ago, Dr Charles Johnson said Ms Serene Lim's death "probably had nothing to do with massages".
Dr Johnson, who is with Hope Ambulance, said a healthy person should not worry about getting a massage.
"My friend had gone for a jog and a massage later. He died on the massage table, but that doesn't implicate the masseuse."
As it turned out, Dr Johnson's friend had died of a cardiac arrest.
Tuina, or deep tissue Chinese massage, is a "hands-on-body manipulation treatment", according to Tan Tock Seng Hospital's website.
"Physically, it is a series of pressing, tapping, and kneading with palms, fingertips, knuckles to remove blockages along the meridians of the body and stimulate the flow of energy (qi) and blood to promote healing from within."
Although tuina seems suitable for all ages, Dr Khoo Yong Hak, who is in private practice, said there may be some concerns, especially for those with existing medical conditions.
"In general, when you're unwell, it's not advisable to have a massage," he said.
"The problem is some people don't know they have a medical condition."