SINGAPORE: Finance Minister Heng Swee Keat was discharged from Tan Tock Seng Hospital (TTSH) on Saturday (Jun 25) and has made an "excellent recovery", said a statement from the Prime Minister's Office (PMO). He has been in hospital for the past month and a half, after he collapsed from stroke.
"Mr Heng expresses his deepest appreciation to the doctors, nurses, and staff of TTSH and the National Neuroscience Institute for their excellent care, and also to the many well-wishers, who had sent him messages of encouragement and good wishes," the statement added.
Mr Heng will be on medical leave as he continues his rehabilitation process. To minimise the risk of infection, his doctors have advised against receiving visitors for the time being, said the statement.
Deputy Prime Minister and Coordinating Minister for Economic and Social Policies Tharman Shanmugaratnam will continue to cover the duties of the Minister for Finance, the PMO said.
Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong said on Facebook that he is delighted that Mr Heng has been discharged. "He has been working hard on his rehab and is determined to recover fully. I am confident he will, supported by his family and medical team."
He also thanked the doctors, nurses, therapists, and staff at TTSH for their professionalism and dedication. "This outcome would not have happened without your good work," Mr Lee said.
YOUR PRAYERS AND GOOD WISHES MADE THE DIFFERENCE: HENG
Mr Heng himself posted on Facebook, saying the last few weeks have been the toughest of his life. "I could get through this time because of the strong support from my family, great medical care, and the kindness from all of you," he wrote.
"If not for the critical help of many people, including my colleagues in Cabinet on the day of my stroke, I wouldn’t be here now," the 54-year-old said. He praised the TTSH and National Neuroscience Institute teams as "truly dedicated professionals". "They showed the best of care, and a warm human touch. They are rays of light when patients and their families are at their lowest. I am so thankful too to the SCDF (Singapore Civil Defence Force) crew who saved me. Anyone who is helped by our hospitals and the SCDF is in good hands."
Mr Heng, who is Member of Parliament for Tampines GRC, said he was touched by how friends and colleagues in Government and in Tampines came together to make sure their work gets done and residents are cared for. "This is true team spirit, thank you."
"For now, doctors say no visitors, no work, focus on rehab so I can recover fully. I may not be able to reply to your messages. But be assured that I'm reading them all, and your good wishes give me strength.
"I look forward to when I can see everyone again."
Mr Heng underwent surgery at TTSH after collapsing from a stroke during a Cabinet meeting on May 12. The stroke was found to have been caused by an aneurysm, which surgeons successfully closed.
On May 30, PM Lee visited Mr Heng and found that he was "recovering well" and "making steady progress".
Mr Heng also heads the Committee of the Future Economy, which is tasked with developing economic strategies to position Singapore for the future.
In view of Mr Heng's illness, his deputy, Minister for Trade and Industry (Industry) S Iswaran, was appointed as co-chairman of the committee. Minister in the Prime Minister's Office Chan Chun Sing was appointed as the Deputy Chairman, in place of Mr Iswaran.