The extent of local actor Aloysius Pang’s injuries resulted in complications that were expected, even though his first two surgeries went well, said the army’s top physician.
Speaking at a press conference at the Ministry of Defence (Mindef) HQ on Thursday (24 January), Chief Army Medical Officer Colonel (Dr) Edward Lo explained that Pang had suffered major trauma injury involving multiple organs.
“You cannot have such a severely injured patient and not expect complications. Given the extent of his injuries, his condition took a turn for the worse.”
Dr Lo was responding to a question on why Pang’s condition had deteriorated so suddenly. The 28-year-old was severely injured at Waiouru Training Area on Saturday while performing repair work on a Singapore Self-Propelled Howitzer (SSPH), sustaining injuries to his chest and abdominal areas.
The armament technician from the 268th Battalion Singapore Artillery was participating in Exercise Thunder Warrior, an artillery live-firing exercise, at the time of the incident.
Pang passed away on Wednesday night (Singapore time) at Waikato Hospital, New Zealand, where he was warded in its intensive care unit, following a third operation on Tuesday night.
Pang was initially conscious
Top SAF commanders revealed that Pang, who is one of three children, was caught between the end of the gun barrel and the interior of the SSPH that he and two other personnel were servicing.
Dr Lo said that Pang was conscious immediately after the incident, and was able to speak to his mother following his first surgery. The doctor added that his first operation was “life-saving”, while the second was planned.
He also noted that Waikato Hospital is a tertiary hospital as well as a regional trauma centre.
The Chief of Trauma and Acute Care Surgery at Singapore’s Tan Tock Seng Hospital, Dr Teo Li Tserng, went to New Zealand to help with Pang’s care. Dr Lo explained, “After that, when I spoke to Doctor Teo and the New Zealand team, they told me that they were already expecting complications… complications that are expected for any major trauma patient.”
SAF is calling for an army-wide safety timeout and will also reduce the tempo of training in the army, navy and air force services. An independent Committee of Inquiry will also be convened to investigate the circumstances leading to the incident.