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The Force is strong with this dad

PROMISE KEPT: Mr Sim and his wife after his discharge from Yishun Community Hospital yesterday. He wanted to keep his promise to his son of watching the new Star Wars movie before school reopens.


    Jan 01, 2016

    The Force is strong with this dad

    SIM Tharn Chun, 52, kept his promise to his son of watching Star Wars: The Force Awakens together before school reopens.

    Mr Sim was discharged yesterday, after spending the past 43 days, including two weeks in a coma, in hospital.

    Despite doctors advising him to continue rehabilitation at Yishun Community Hospital for at least another month, Mr Sim insisted on being discharged yesterday because he did not want to spend the new year in hospital. He will continue his rehabilitation at home.

    His wife, Cathryn Sim, 43, a financial consultant, booked five tickets for the family to watch the 3pm screening at Causeway Point in Woodlands yesterday.

    The country manager for industry giant Honeywell fell ill after eating raw fish porridge on Nov 15. Doctors told Mrs Sim that his condition was likely caused by the Group B Streptococcus (GBS) bacteria, leading to meningitis. He has lost his hearing completely in the right ear and is left with only about 10 per cent of hearing in his left.

    Mr Sim, who was in a festive mood upon his release from hospital, said he hopes to recover his hearing and his sense of balance in the new year. He hopes to be back at work before Chinese New Year next year, he said.

    GBS is a common bacterium found in the gut and urinary tract of 15 per cent to 30 per cent of adults, and does not usually cause disease in healthy individuals.

    It is also not known to be transmitted through food and water.

    However, it may occasionally cause infections of the bloodstream, skin and soft tissues, joints, lungs and brain. There have been a number of reported GBS cases, prompting the authorities to advise hawker stalls not to sell the yusheng dish which has raw fish.

    Mrs Sim believes more should have been done to alert the public to the possible infection earlier.

    "This illness is completely preventable and avoidable. And yet it has hurt my husband physically and all of us in the family," she said.

    While the incident has taken a toll on the family, she retained her sense of humour, saying: "Now I can blast my music loudly. He used to say laopo (wife in Mandarin), it's too loud."