He had to amputate his legs to walk again
Netizens raise $52,000 for 22-year-old who lost fingers and legs to gangrene
It is not something he would wish even on his worst enemies.
While serving his national service in October last year, Mr Henry Seah, 22, was diagnosed with a life-threatening disease called adenoviral pneumonia.
Complications cost him seven of his fingers and both legs.
It started with a fever of 39 deg C, then vomiting and diarrhoea.
Mr Seah was still feeling unwell even after visiting hospitals twice, so his mother got him admitted to Khoo Teck Puat Hospital.
Mr Seah was transferred to the Intensive Care Unit (ICU), then the National University Hospital Cardiothoracic ICU when his condition worsened.
Speaking to The New Paper last week, his older sister, Miss Cindy Seah, 24, a laboratory officer who specialises in cancer therapeutics, said: "He fell into a coma, and it was hard for us to see him reliant on life support.
"It was really shocking for us. The doctors told us to be prepared for the worst."
Their Catholic faith kept Mr Seah's mum and two sisters going - his father died four years ago - and his condition stabilised shortly after.
But a series of complications caused Mr Seah to suffer from dry gangrene, which caused his fingers and toes to turn red, purple then black.
Miss Seah said: "Our younger sister, 17, was also hospitalised because she caught the same virus and exhibited similar symptoms as Henry.
"Thankfully it was discovered early, and she recovered after a week's stay in the hospital."
When Mr Seah woke up, he had no idea what he and his family had gone through during the one month he was comatose.
He said he could tell his mother was upset by the situation and he tried to stay strong for her.
Mr Seah, who reached his operationally ready date last month, told TNP: "I woke up (wondering) what happened. I felt almost nothing during the period I was in a coma."
He noticed the blackening of his fingers and legs, and learnt they had to be amputated.
His fingers were amputated in January, and legs were amputated on March 3.
When TNP visited him last week, he was taking things positively.
Mr Seah, who plans to study IT in Nanyang Polytechnic after his recovery, said: "I was definitely scared, and it was quite ironic that my legs had be removed in order for me... to learn how to walk again.
"But I felt like this was meant to be some kind of test for me to overcome."
Miss Seah started a crowdfunding campaign three weeks ago on GoGetFunding,and has raised more than $52,000 as of yesterday.
She is thankful to donors and hopes the amount raised will help cover costs including her brother's medical bills, transport, prosthetics and rehabilitation.
Mr Seah added: "I hope to be able to head out, walk around without supervision and meet up with my friends."
About adenoviral pneumonia
Adenoviruses are a family of viruses that account for 5 per cent to 10 per cent of all feverish illnesses in infants and young children.
They are frequently associated with upper respiratory tract syndromes, such as pharyngitis or flu-like illness, but can also cause pneumonia.
Transmission of adenovirus usually occurs through coughing and sneezing, and less frequently from contaminated surfaces.
Most adenoviral diseases are self-limiting, although fatal infections can occur in people with a weakened immune system and infrequently in healthy children and adults.
Antiviral therapy is generally reserved for people with weakened immune systems and patients with severe disease.
- ELAINE LEE
Source: Dr Ram Ramanathan, Consultant, Department of Cardiac, Thoracic & Vascular Surgery, National University Heart Centre Singapore