Singapore

Unvaccinated S’pore housewife, critically ill with Covid-19, put on heart-lung machine to save her life

SINGAPORE - Madam Lee Sock Lee was fit enough to visit a Swab and Send Home clinic after getting a positive Covid-19 antigen rapid test result on Sept 13 morning, but things rapidly took a turn for the worse.

Within the next 24 hours, she was in critical care and fighting for her life.

The 43-year-old housewife, who was slipping in and out of consciousness as she was being rushed to the emergency room of Ng Teng Fong General Hospital (NTFGH) on Sept 13, was on the verge of cardiovascular collapse and would have died if not for the timely intervention of extracorporeal membrane oxygenation (Ecmo) treatment.

Ecmo is a life-saving machine which takes over the function of the heart and lungs.

Madam Lee, who is unvaccinated, was putting off vaccination due to previous episodes caused by food allergies but did not have any pre-existing co-morbidities. The family was waiting for the arrival of Novavax, a protein-based Covid-19 vaccine.

As a cautionary tale to those still holding off vaccination, she said on Thursday (Oct 28): "This is my second chance in life... If I had died, I will only have my husband to take care of our four children, who are still young. For those who are still hesitating on getting your vaccines, yes, there is a risk of side effects, but please do not delay any further."

Describing her experience as a traumatic one for her family, especially her husband, Madam Lee added: "Vaccination could potentially save your life. You won't have to go through what I went through and what I put my family through."

Her family of six was found to be Covid-19-positive. Thankfully, her children - ranging from three to 13 years old - and her husband had only mild symptoms such as fever and headaches.

Her husband is partially vaccinated and her eldest son is fully vaccinated. The rest are unvaccinated and those eligible will be getting their jabs in about three months - based on doctor's advice for recovered Covid-19 patients.

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