SINGAPORE: A Singapore Armed Forces (SAF) fullâ€”time National Serviceman (NSF) died on Tuesday during a navigation exercise.
Specialist Cadet (SCT) Ee Chun Sheng, 21, was found unconscious at about 5.11pm while participating in a navigation exercise at Ama Keng Training Area at Lim Chu Kang.
An SAF medic went on site and tried to resuscitate SCT Ee at about 5.15pm. The serviceman was evacuated via a safety vehicle to the Tengah Air Base Medical Centre and arrived at about 5.39pm where an SAF doctor attended to him.
SCT Ee was then sent by ambulance to the National University Hospital (NUH) at 6.05pm and arrived at 6.32pm. SAF doctor and medic continued to resuscitate him enroute to the hospital.
SCT Ee was pronounced dead at 9.03pm at NUH.
The Ministry of Defence (MINDEF) and the SAF extend their deepest condolences to the family of the late SCT Ee. The SAF is assisting the family in their time of grief and is investigating the incident.
In a stunning relevation, MINDEF revealed in a press statement last night that SAF took MORE THAN ONE HOUR to send 21 year old SCT Ee Chun Sheng to NUH after he was discovered to be unconscious during a training exercise:
â€œAn SAF medic went on site and tried to resuscitate SCT Ee at about 5.15pm. The serviceman was evacuated via a safety vehicle to the Tengah Air Base Medical Centre and arrived at about 5.39pm where an SAF doctor attended to him. SCT Ee was then sent via an ambulance to the National University Hospital (NUH) at 6.05pm and arrived at 6.32pm.â€
SCT Ee was pronounced dead on arrival at NUH. He was training to be a â€˜Specsâ€™ at the School of Infantry Specialists (SISPEC) after which he will hold the rank of a 3rd Sergeant.
His unfortunate and unnecessary death was mourned by many ordinary Singaporeans. SCT Ee graduated from Singapore Polytechnic and would have a bright future ahead of him if not for his untimely demise.
Though the cause of his death is not known yet, it is common medical knowledge that few will survive an out-of-hospital cardiac arrest for more than five minutes.
It was reported that SCT Ee was resuscitated on site. What was done for him there? Did the medic have a portable defibrillator? Did he have a pulse present? If he was still alive then, he should be sent immediately to NUH rather than sent to the Medical Centre.
Given the close proximity between Tengah Air Base and NUH, it is incredulous that it took nearly half an hour to transfer SCT Ee to NUH.
MINDEF should come clean with the public and convene an independent Commission of Inquiry to investigate the circumstances surrounding SCT Eeâ€™s death and whether it could be prevented.
It should also release the number of NSFs and NSmen who died in the course of their training as well as those who suffered permanent injuries and debility over the years. The figures should then be compared with those of other countries with mandatory conscription such as Taiwan, South Korea and Israel.
Despite blanket assurances from the SAF that it takes â€œserious viewâ€ of ensuring the â€œsafetyâ€ of its soldiers, unnecessary deaths and injuries have been occuring of late and then quietly swept under the carpet as if nothing has happened.
With National Service exacting a heavy toll on the time and resources of every Singapore men, Singaporeans deserve to know the truth or one day, somebody we know may become the next SCT Ee.