April 28, 2017


Photo by Shawn Danker. Shared Copyright.
A car drives through some ponding at Katong.

by Sarah Lim

Here’s a reason not to drive on Singapore roads. It drives you crazy – and will maim you too.

Two days after a Sunday Times report on the frequency of road rage incidents in Singapore is an article on how the number of trauma patients with severe injuries is increasing. Today’s edition of ST also showed that even passengers can lose their temper. A former lecturer has just been given a jail sentence for striking a taxi driver with an umbrella; he hit so hard the umbrella broke. The article told of another case of a passenger whacking a taxi driver but the cabby did not want to pursue the matter. 

A bruised eye or a pained back aren’t the only problems you face on the roads. TTSH had 129 severely injured patients in 2008 due to road accidents. It went up to 178 last year. At KTP, it went up from 64 in 2011 to more than 100 road traffic accident patients. It’s the result of a bigger population and a tendency to speed or drive drunk. The increasing number of heavy construction vehicles combined with an increasing number of car ownership simply is, as TTSH trauma surgeon put it, “a recipe for a major accident to happen”.

Strangely, not all the hospitals in Singapore reported this rising trend. Only TTSH and the newer KTPH did. Could it be that more accidents occur at roads in the vicinity of these two hospitals? Does this signal that these roads are more accident prone? Or are these hospitals simply better equipped to cope with such trauma patients? 

It might just be as well that car prices are rising…unless there are also rising instances of rail rage or bus fuss that we don’t know about.

by Bertha Henson

No one wants to think about getting old or rather, becoming demented. When your faculties aren’t what they used to be, when you start drooling and even lose control of bodily functions. When your relatives pin a card with a phone number on you, in case you go missing. When little by little, you become a weight on young ones, even if they are more than filial in their responsibilities to you. (Perhaps that’s why people don’t want old folks’ facilities in their backyard. It’s a reminder of what they might become.)

That’s why a 10-year study on dementia and elderly depression is to be welcomed. According to an ST report (“New 10-year study on elderly” ST 24/05/2013), about 28,000 people here have dementia, a brain disorder which affects the memory, intellect and personality. The number will go up to 80,000 by 2030. There are however two times the number of elderly suffering from depression than dementia here. Just how was the projection made anyway? Based on a population of 6.9million?

What’s worse is Singapore’s number of elderly suicides. In 2007, the suicide rate for those aged 65 and above was 27.6 for every 100,000. In the United States, it’s about 14. What’s the link between depression and dementia? Are they perfectly okay senior citizens who become so depressed that they take their own life? Or are they mainly those who are suffering from dementia?

Now that was in 2007, about six years ago. Perhaps the study will also reveal if we have got the number going down – or is it going up? What is clear is that we are no longer a young country. And those who are young had better start making provisions for themselves, and look a little less askance at other people – VWOs and state agencies – who try to give a good life to those who are now old.

by Bertha Henson

What a nice headline in ST! A Diva to manage mum’s blood pressure. Except the rest of the story is confusion.

Here’s what the report said:

An automatic system to manage blood pressure in mothers going through caesarean births has been developed by doctors at a Singapore hospital, in what they say is a world first.

The Double Intravenous Vasopressor Automated System – or Diva – is still in development stage, but doctors at the KK Women’s and Children’s Hospital (KKH) hope it will lead to safer caesarean sections.

Eh? So has this world’s first already been developed or not?

Then follows a long spiel about how this already developed/ still developing Diva works. Then later comes this 2011 study of 55 women which showed that Diva was more efficient than conventional methods of maintaining blood pressure during the operation.

So it has been developed then?

Then comes this: The hospital can’t give a time-frame as to when the Diva will be in action.

Looks like it’s a premature birth.