SINGAPORE: A foreign domestic worker who was hired to care for a bedridden stroke patient abused him instead, striking his arm, grabbing his head forcefully and spitting at his face.
Myanmar national Aye Aye Than, 26, was given 10 weeks' jail on Thursday (Jun 3). She pleaded guilty to one charge of voluntarily causing hurt to a vulnerable person, with three other charges considered in sentencing.
The court heard that the victim, a 72-year-old man who lives with his wife and daughter, had suffered multiple strokes. After the most serious one in late-2019, he lost strength in his lower body and became bedridden.
He could not engage in tasks such as gripping onto items or supporting his own weight, and could not move around or perform daily tasks on his own.
As he choked easily on food, he was intubated and fed a liquid diet on a doctor's advice. He had difficulties speaking as it caused him pain and required substantial effort on his part, said Deputy Public Prosecutor Jotham Tay.
The victim's wife hired the accused from Jan 2, 2020 to Feb 7, 2021. She was tasked with feeding the victim by tube five times a day, removing his phlegm using a tube and machine when needed, changing his diapers and cleaning him, and transferring him from a bed to a wheelchair.
During the first few days of her employment, Aye Aye Than was trained to perform the required tasks by staff members at Ren Ci community hospital, where the victim was undergoing rehabilitation.
On the morning of Feb 5, 2021, Aye Aye Tan was attending to the victim when she hit his right arm once with excessive force before spitting at his face.
Later in the afternoon, she forcefully grabbed him twice by the back of his head.
The abuse was caught on closed-circuit television footage, and the victim's daughter-in-law lodged a police report two days later.
Aye Aye Than on Thursday asked for leniency, saying she wished to return home as soon as possible.
The penalties for voluntarily causing hurt are a jail term of up to three years, a fine of up to S$5,000, or both. As the victim was a vulnerable one, the penalties could have been doubled.