Friday, January 11, 2008

Blow to head: Baby's death an accident

extracted from The Straits Time : 11th Jan 2008

His head hit toilet bowl during bath when maid reached out for towel
By Elena Chong, Court Correspondent
CRIED AND REFUSED HIS MILK: Jordan's grandmother took him to a nearby clinic, but he died later in hospital. -- PHOTO: COURTESY OF THE TEO FAMILY

A TWO-MONTH-OLD baby boy died after his head was banged against a toilet bowl by accident while he was being bathed.

Jordan Teo Ka Jun's Indonesian caregiver Lasini, 25, was so afraid of being scolded that she did not tell anyone what had happened.

It was only much later that his grandmother noticed that he was pale and his breathing was intermittent. She rushed him to a clinic but he could not be revived and died in hospital about eight hours after the incident.

Ms Lasini, who was named a potential defendant in the coroner's inquiry yesterday, chose to remain silent.

Jordan's death, which happened on Sept 10 last year, was found to be an accident.

In court were his parents, Mr James Teo, 32, a country manager of an IT distribution company, and Madam Jenny Lau Kit Mui, 37, an accountant.

They heard how, on the day of the accident, Ms Lasini was bathing Jordan as usual while squatting in the narrow confines of the master bedroom toilet.

As she turned to pick up the bath towel from the toilet seat, she heard the baby's head knock against the side of the bowl.

Hearing him cry, the baby's grandmother, Madam Yeo Kwee Kee, 59, went to check what had happened. Ms Lasini did not tell her.

After Madam Yeo left the flat at about lunchtime, Jordan began to cry now and then, and refused his milk.

Eventually, his nine-year-old brother called his mother, who asked the maid to rub some medicated oil on him.

By this time, his cries had become weaker and he was pale.

When Madam Yeo returned home at 3pm, she noticed that the baby was in distress and took him immediately to a nearby clinic. But he died at about 5pm in Tan Tock Seng Hospital.

In his findings, Coroner Earnest Lau noted the cramped confines of the toilet, and that there was no place on the bath tub on which to rest the baby while the maid reached for his towel.

He did not find Ms Lasini criminally negligent in causing Jordan's tragic death, though she should have told his parents what had happened.

'The evidence before me suggests it was an error of judgment on the part of the potential defendant in failing to realise that the infant had hit the toilet bowl,' he said.

He had no external injuries which would have caused his caregiver to seek medical attention immediately.

The coroner recorded a verdict of misadventure.

Afterwards, Mr Teo, who has a two-year-old daughter and two other stepchildren, said he would not hire a maid again.

'Right now, having a maid equates to buying a lottery,' he said.

His mother-in-law now looks after his daughter.

Ms Lasini, who had worked for another employer for three years, said she felt very sad, adding that the baby's death would haunt her for the rest of her life.

The single woman, who has been with the Indonesian Embassy since the incident, hopes to continue working in Singapore - but not to take care of children.

She said she was willing to apologise to the couple, who want her to do so at the baby's grave.

When I read this article, it pains my heart to see a small life taken away by carelessness. Worst still, by refusing to admit their mistakes. What's the use of apologising when you can't bring back the life of a child?

KZ was briefed to inform me should any of my children have any falls/knocks. Well, it shouldn't be much problem coz' mainly I'm the caregiver. So far, no major falls/knocks but she does tell me when my girl sukat sukat just lunge herself forward and hit her nose or whatever.

And that also reminds me of what happened on Thursday. Aricia was playing near mom's kitchen, Fatonah (that bitch) was sitting near there carrying Ignatius. And then dunno how, Aricia fell and I heard a "thump" I didn't really exactly see what happened, so asked her what happened.
Bitch : No, no, nothing.. she no hit
Me : I heard a thump. She fell down. Where did she hit? Her head? Front, back??
Bitch : No, no, she no hit

I don't know if she's feigning ignorance by my simple spoken English, but I hate it when I notice that face change from the bitch means she did knock her head but she deny it.

I was told that she also denied and lied about how Iggy hit his head a few days back. Mom was cooking dinner and bitch was watching "Wheels On The Bus" with him. And I tell you, must be that bitch too engrossed in movie never notice / take proper care of Iggy. Then suddenly my mom heard a loud wail... she denied. Then can even say "Ignatius watch Wheels On The Bus frighten; move forward and "bump" That range of VCDs are Iggy's favourite, how can he be frightened?
Another time also, he let a loud cry outside a shop in a shopping mall. Her excuse? She was changing his diaper. Where got people change diaper so fast. I hate that bitch, she's always lying. But maybe it's coz' I hate her, so I'm finding excuses/reasons to hate her.

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