The Singapore Health Inspirational Patient and Caregiver Awards is an annual award which honours individuals for their strength, courage and resilience in the face of healthcare challenges. It is also a platform to recognise outstanding patient support groups that have provided invaluable support to our patients and caregivers.
Back in 2015, there was a horrific explosion at the Colour Play Asia Festival in Taipei, and Ms Megan Loy suffered third to fourth degree burns over 80 percent of her body. The road to recovery was long and painful. Nevertheless, she did not let her injuries define her, and is now a medical student in NUS Yong Loo Lin School of Medicine.
Ms Megan Loy Si Yi, 21
I first toyed with the idea of studying medicine when I was 16, because I was interested in science and wanted a career that allowed me to interact with people. After I completed my International Baccalaureate® (IB) studies, I spent some time shadowing doctors in a hospital in Tanzania. The humbling experience strengthened my resolve to pursue medicine as a career.
In 2015, my life took a detour when I had a brush with death during my graduation trip with friends to Taipei. We were at the Colour Play Asia Festival when a sudden explosion occurred at the venue. It sent us running for our lives and I lost my friends in the midst of the chaos.
I didn’t feel much pain initially, which I later discovered was because of how rapidly and severely my skin, including my nerve endings had been burned. I remember being extremely disorientated at the time and fearing that I would never see my parents again.
Thankfully, they heard the news from a fellow parent and managed to locate me in the intensive care unit at the Taipei Medical University Shuang-Ho Hospital. I was flown back to Singapore for treatment at the Burns Centre in Singapore General Hospital (SGH). I found out later that I had suffered third to fourth-degree burns on over 80 per cent of my body.
The road to recovery was long and painful. For the next four months, I stayed in the hospital and underwent nine skin grafts. I remember the excruciating pain every time the nurses cleaned and debrided my wounds. When I could finally take a shower on my own, it took me a few hours because it would hurt every time my raw and hypersensitive skin came in contact with water.
It took time for my skin to heal and during the process, the tightening of my scars restricted my movement, particularly over my fingers, elbows, and knees. It took several scar release surgeries and months of physiotherapy before I regained a fraction of my mobility.
My family and friends were my strength. They took turns keeping me company, keeping my spirits up, and never treated me any differently. Their support helped me tremendously, and I did not feel like I needed to shy away or hide because of my scars.
Words cannot express how grateful I am for the care and support of the SGH Burns medical team. Associate Professor Tan Bien Keem and Dr Chew Khong Yik took the initiative to reach out to my parents when they first heard news about the incident to see how they could help. They didn’t know my family then and yet, they went above and beyond to arrange for me to be flown back to Singapore via International SOS, so I could receive treatment quickly at SGH.
The team has been closely monitoring my condition ever since, and I have no doubt that their unwavering compassion and care played a pivotal role in getting me to where I am today. They continue to inspire me to this day, and are my role models in my own journey to becoming a doctor.
The day that I received my acceptance letter from the NUS Yong Loo Lin School of Medicine was one of the best days of my life. Being a patient has helped me gain new perspectives on medicine and patient care. I believe that everything happens for a reason and am confident that what I went through will help me become a better doctor in the future.