Autographed well-wishes from Liverpool FC dedicated to die-hard supporter Firdaus Osman, who suffered a cardiac arrest and remains in intensive care. (Photo courtesy of Faiz Osman)
*UPDATE (25 April 2016): The Changi General Hospital has said that its medical team had not advocated to the family to “pull the plug” and that its doctor’s recommendation to the family was to remove Firdaus’ breathing tube as the patient was assessed to be able to breathe on his own. The hospital said that this is a standard of care for any patient on the ventilator and that this information was also conveyed to the family. This contradicts what a member of the family said. Faiz, the younger brother of Firdaus, told Yahoo Singapore, “The doctors at CGH said he had no hope and advice (sic) my family to pull the plug”.*
A classy gesture from Liverpool FC has brought tears of joy from a Singaporean fan after he had a near-death experience.
The English football giants sent a get-well-soon card to Firdaus Osman, who is currently warded at Singapore General Hospital (SGH).
Addressed directly to him, the Reds thanked the 28-year-old for his support and the card was signed by all the first-team members, as well as head coach Jürgen Klopp.
Firdaus was admitted in critical condition earlier this month on 5 April, after suffering a sudden cardiac arrest while getting food with his colleagues after working a night shift.
His younger brother, Faiz, related to Yahoo Singapore how Firdaus was brought to Changi General Hospital (CGH) after he collapsed. His heart was determined to have stopped for around 40 minutes, but was successfully resuscitated.
“He was on life support for quite some time,” said Faiz. “It took him at least five days to open his eyes, but he still remained motionless.”
Firdaus Osman. His heart stopped for 40 minutes before he was resuscitated. (Photo courtesy of Faiz Osman)
Faiz decided to play You Will Never Walk Alone, the club’s anthem, when that happened - and was astonished when his brother responded.
“I know he is a die-hard supporter of Liverpool,” he explained. “The happiest thing to see was that he actually smiled for the first time during his coma and that brought tears of joy to us as a family. It gave us hope and belief.”
After being advised to pull the plug, the family sought a second opinion at SGH and eventually decided to transfer Firdaus there.
It was after the transfer that the idea of getting in contact with Liverpool FC occurred to Faiz. Writing in his email that he hoped they could “help him and make him happy”, he simply wanted to share his brother’s plight and did not know what kind of response to expect.
Just two days after he wrote, Liverpool responded through Chanelle Weightman, a member of their Customer Experience Team.
“I was surprised they actually sent me a personalised certificate with the autographs of all the players and the head coach,” Faiz said. “I was really happy and delighted, and I went to print and laminate it straight away.”
Screenshots of Faiz's email to Liverpool (left) and their response (right). (Courtesy of Faiz Osman)
It happened to be Firdaus’s birthday the following day and Faiz decided to get a Liverpool jersey with his brother’s name on the back as a present to go along with the club’s well wishes.
“When I came with his birthday present, he just opened his eyes and looked at me with curiosity,” the 24-year-old recalled.
“I told him that I had brought for him the best birthday gift he would ever have and took out the certificate, putting it in front of his face.
“His eyes were wide open. I said, ‘If you don’t believe it’s real, I will show you the emails I sent and received’.
“He read them and looked at me, before giving me a wide smile with teary eyes. He was not able to speak, but the gestures showed that he was beyond happy!”
Firdaus has since been moved to SGH’s medical intensive care area – one level down from the intensive care unit – but remains unable to talk and can only communicate through facial expressions and tilting his head.
Doctors have indicated that he will get better, but the extent and time period for recovery cannot be determined at the moment.
“I am not sure whether he will make a full recovery,” Faiz (pictured at right) said. “We are waiting every day for progress.”
He is very appreciative of Liverpool’s gesture, which is small but significant.
“They are sweet to send a nice gesture that can make him happy even, though he is in that state,” he said. “Even though I am not a fan, I really am grateful to Liverpool FC.”