SINGAPORE: A second operation on the full-time national serviceman who was injured during unilateral parachute training in Taiwan was "successful and without complications", the Ministry of Defence (MINDEF) said on Thursday (Jan 2).
The cervical spine injury sustained by PTE Joshua Quek Shou Jie, 21, resulted in neurological deficits including weakness of his upper and lower limbs.
He has partially recovered some motor functions since the second procedure, but will require continued rehabilitation and physiotherapy for long-term recovery and to reduce the damage from the injury, MINDEF said in a press release.
"PTE Quek is currently breathing without assistance, conscious, alert and conversing with his family at the hospital," said the ministry.
Chief Commando Officer Colonel (COL) Kenny Tay, who visited and spoke with PTE Quek and his family at the hospital, said: "Joshua is a dedicated soldier who has always given his best. We will give our fullest support to him and his family while he recovers from his injuries.”
MINDEF said that it will, together with SAF, arrange for PTE Quek's return to Singapore when he is medically fit to do so.
PTE Quek sustained a cervical spine injury on Dec 18, 2019 during a unilateral parachute training exercise that was conducted at night. He was immediately evacuated to the nearest tertiary hospital, where he underwent surgery the following day.
MINDEF had said on Dec 20 that the surgery had proceeded "without complications" and that his condition was stable.
"PTE Quek is being monitored in the Intensive Care Unit and further treatment to stabilise the cervical spine injury is planned," the ministry had added.
An orthopaedic specialist from Singapore had flown to Taiwan to help coordinate medical care. His family was also flown in.
MINDEF added that PTE Quek was "conscious and lucid" and that it will continue to render full support and assistance to the family.
The SAF is investigating the incident and has suspended this training, pending the outcome of further investigations.
Last year, actor Aloysius Pang died after sustaining serious injuries during an SAF training exercise in New Zealand - making it the fourth SAF training fatality in 18 months at the time.
In November 2018, full-time national serviceman PTE Liu Kai, 22, died after he was involved in a vehicular incident at Jalan Murai training area.
In April 2018, Dave Lee, a 19-year-old full-time national serviceman died nearly two weeks after "suffering a heat stroke" in Bedok Camp.
In September 2017, 3rd Sergeant Gavin Chan, 21, died after he was involved in a vehicular mishap at the Shoalwater Bay Training Area in Queensland, Australia.