IMH nurse jailed 5 weeks for slapping schizophrenic patient, endangered him by tilting his chair, Latest Singapore News - The New Paper

IMH nurse jailed 5 weeks for slapping schizophrenic patient, endangered him by tilting his chair

This article is more than 12 months old

Frustrated with a schizophrenic patient who swept the floor with his shirt, an Institute of Mental Health (IMH) staff nurse slapped him several times and tilted his commode chair till he almost fell off.

Iylia Muhammad Afiq Nor Effendi, 26, was on Thursday (March 17) sentenced to five weeks' jail after pleading guilty to one count each of committing a rash act to endanger human life and voluntarily causing hurt.

A charge of using criminal force on the 59-year-old patient was taken into consideration for his sentencing.

The court heard that the victim suffers from chronic schizophrenia and has been a patient at IMH since at least 2005.

He is incapable of protecting himself from abuse because of his mental infirmity.

On Dec 8, 2019, Iylia reported for his morning shift at 7am. IMH patients, including the victim, were scheduled for a haircut that morning.

At around 9.20am, Iylia saw the victim sitting shirtless on his commode chair and sweeping the floor with the garment.

A commode chair is a portable toilet with wheels, meant for use by individuals who need help going to the toilet due to illness or injury.

The nurse then tilted the chair progressively for 13 seconds at a sharp angle, such that the victim almost fell off. He then forcefully yanked the chair backwards and walked away.

Deputy Public Prosecutor Phoebe Tan said: "He was accustomed to doing so, as he had previously tilted the victim's commode in a bid to stop the victim from meddling with rubbish on the floor. The victim had stopped his acts in the past."

About 20 minutes later, Iylia slapped the victim's upper back, shoulder and the back of his neck several times.

"By the accused's own estimates, the amount of force he applied was four to five on a scale of one to ten," said the DPP.

Footage of the abuse was caught on closed-circuit television cameras and shown in court.

When the victim was taken to the day lounge for his haircut, Iylia noticed bruises around his right eye and gave him an ice pack.

The victim's bruises were caused by punches dealt by another staff nurse - Muhammad Ihsan Mahmud, 32.

Iylia reported the injuries to IMH's management, prompting a human resources manager to lodge a police report.

The victim was sent to hospital that day where he was found with bruises on his head and a toe fracture.

Iylia was issued a final written warning over the incident and he later resigned.

Two other IMH staff were punished for assaulting the victim that day. Ihsan was sentenced to nine weeks' jail in January last year for offences including splashing the victim's face with hand sanitiser and punching him.

Former IMH health attendant Sadasivam Kannan, 60, was jailed for three weeks in August last year for slapping the victim's head.

For committing a rash act to endanger human life, Iylia could have been jailed up to six months and fined up to $2,500.

The maximum penalty for voluntarily causing hurt is a jail term of up to two years and a $5,000 fine.