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Nurse who lost job after severe COVID-19 vaccine reaction welcome to reapply for work when 'better': SGH

The nurse with Singapore General Hospital became wheelchair-bound and jobless following a COVID-19 vaccine injury.

Nurse who lost job after severe COVID-19 vaccine reaction welcome to reapply for work when 'better': SGH

A signboard at the Singapore General Hospital (SGH) compound. (File photo: AFP/Roslan Rahman)

SINGAPORE: Singapore General Hospital (SGH) said on Monday (Jan 16) that a former nurse who lost her job after suffering a severe reaction to the COVID-19 vaccine is welcome to reapply to join the hospital "when she is better".

Responding to CNA's queries, SGH's chief human resource officer Tan Yang Noi said the hospital will continue to stay in touch with the woman and give her support.

CNA reported on Friday that the former nurse won an appeal against a court order to pay child maintenance, after becoming wheelchair-bound and jobless following the vaccine injury.

According to court documents, the woman suffered a severe adverse reaction to her second dose of a COVID-19 vaccine in March 2021.

She was hospitalised for 151 days from March to October 2021, and was diagnosed with Involuntary Movement Disorder.

She received her full monthly pay of S$8,244 for 2021, but this was halved for the first six months of 2022. She received no pay for the rest of 2022.

Her employment with SGH was terminated in December 2022.

The judgment written by Justice Choo Han Teck described the woman as being "virtually down to her last straws financially" as she contended with the costs of oxygen therapy on top of living expenses.

"Although there is no medical evidence as to her fitness for employment in the future, it is obvious even to counsel, that the (woman) is wheelchair-bound, and barely able to speak more than a few words audibly without suffering from shortness of breath which reduces her voice to an inaudible whisper," read the judgment.

Noting that the woman required constant intubation with an oxygen tank, the High Court judge also said it was "plain that she is in no state to undertake gainful employment".

On Monday, SGH's Ms Tan said: "It saddens us that our former nursing colleague is going through a difficult time and we have kept in close touch with her throughout the journey and continue to do so."

She added that during the woman's hospital admission and recovery at home, colleagues from SGH visited her and helped to coordinate her medical appointments.

"We value deeply every employee and had kept her in our employment for as long as we could," said Ms Tan.

"Eventually, she was medically boarded out in December 2022 after she was assessed to be medically unfit for nursing duties and her condition did not permit her to perform in other non-nursing roles as well.

"We have communicated to her that we welcome her to reapply to join us when she is better. She remains eligible for another year of medical benefits for the treatment of her condition."

Singapore started rolling out the COVID-19 vaccination to healthcare workers in late December 2020, and then progressively to members of the public from January 2021.

Source: CNA/dv(gs)


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