SINGAPORE: While loading elderly clients from their senior care centre into a van to ferry them home, a healthcare assistant and a driver were negligent in their handling of a 76-year-old man.
The wheels of the man's wheelchair were not locked, so he rolled off a platform meant to lift him into the van. His head struck the floor, and he died.
Moe Thadar, a 49-year-old health care assistant from Myanmar, and 67-year-old Singaporean driver Kwa Kim Seng were each fined S$10,000 (US$7,500) by a court on Thursday (Dec 7).
They pleaded guilty to one count each of a negligent act not amounting to culpable homicide, causing the death of the victim.
The court heard that Moe and Kwa worked for Active Global Home & Community Care (Singapore), a company providing services for the care of the elderly.
Moe had been working there for six years when the incident happened, while Kwa had worked at the company for 10-and-a-half months.
At about 4.40pm on Feb 3, 2021, the pair were loading elderly clients into the van at the senior care centre's pick-up point near Block 31A, Ghim Moh Link, in order to ferry them home.
The victim, 76-year-old Hassan Mohamed Karchi Arsan Osman, was the second to be loaded into the van.
Moe wheeled Mr Hassan onto the platform of a lift which was used to load wheelchair-bound patients into the van.
According to Active Global's standard operating procedures (SOP), which both the offenders had been taught, a healthcare assistant is responsible for locking both wheels of the client's wheelchair before the lift is activated.
The driver, who activates the lift, is responsible for ensuring the client's safety as the platform is being raised.
This includes checking that the wheels of the wheelchair have been locked before raising the platform, and holding the wheelchair as it is being raised as an extra precaution against it rolling back.
The driver is supposed to release his grip on the wheelchair only after a different healthcare assistant stationed inside the van takes control of the wheelchair to pull it into the van.
That day, Moe walked away from Mr Hassan without engaging the brakes of his wheelchair.
As she walked away, she told Kwa: "Uncle, hold". This was an indication to Kwa that the victim was ready to be lifted, and that Kwa should hold on to the wheelchair.
Kwa also did not ensure that the brakes were engaged. He raised the platfor...