37-year-old M’sian beautician working in S’pore loses 4 limbs after bacterial infection

Beautician working in Singapore loses 4 limbs after bacterial infection

Lin Ai Ling (name transliterated from Chinese), a 37-year-old beautician from Ipoh, Malaysia who worked in Singapore, lost her limbs after a bacterial infection last October. She was forced to amputate them to save her life as they turned black from sepsis.

Since her ordeal, Ms Lin has spent over S$300,000 on her medical bills, emptying her savings.

She has also lost her work permit and might be unable to remain in Singapore. However, Ms Lin hopes to stay here to continue her treatment and find work when she recovers.

Beautician moved to Singapore from Ipoh & loved dressing up

On Tuesday (4 June) Shin Min Daily News reported on Ms Lin’s plight.

Before she lost her limbs, Ms Lin, who worked as a beautician at a beauty salon here, said she enjoyed putting on makeup and dressing up.

She said she started to feel discomfort in early October last year, showing symptoms of fever, stomachache, and lethargy.

Two days after seeing a doctor, she did not see any improvement, and she decided to return for a second appointment.

On the first visit, the doctor prescribed medication for food poisoning but on her second visit, Mr Lin said the doctor saw she required urgent medical attention and advised her to visit the emergency department at the hospital.

She lost consciousness soon after.

When Ms Lin regained consciousness, she found herself surrounded by medical equipment and her family members.

beautician lin ailing

Source: Shin Min Daily News on Facebook

“Later, I found out that I was critically ill, and the doctor told my family to prepare for the worst,” she said.

The doctor informed her that she had a bacterial infection, and she was in poor health even though she was conscious.

“(He said) my heart was weak and there was not enough oxygen supply to my brain. If things continue, I might die. He suggested that I get an injection to allow blood to flow to my heart and ensure my brain receives the oxygen I need.

“However, he warned that this might result in sacrifices to some part of my body.”

Beautician has to get amputation, loses 4 limbs after they turn black

Ms Lin’s family thought she’d lose a finger at most, but they were shocked to see her limbs gradually turning black.

“I watched as my hands and feet turned black and became heavy, and I even lost control of them,” she said.

The doctor said her limbs had developed sepsis and amputation was necessary to save her life.

Ms Lin could not help but cry when talking about the amputation.

She finally decided to amputate both her hands on 29 Nov 2023. Just three weeks later on 19 Dec 2023, she amputated both legs.

The 37-year-old said she’d used up her savings on her hospitalisation and other medical expenses, to the tune of S$300,000.

Credits family for support

“I have no income, so I can only rely on my sister to take care of me,” Ms Lin noted. She currently stays in a three-room flat in Bedok with her sister and brother-in-law.

She said she’d be grateful if someone could offer help for her.

Following her amputation, Ms Lin said she had difficulties accepting her situation and did not want to see her friends.

Besides staying with her sister and brother-in-law, her 63-year-old mum also moved in to take care of her.

Her mum, Mrs Lin said: “Ai Ling has everyone’s support, but the most important thing for her is to stay positive.”

She added that Ms Lin remained calm despite her ordeal and noted: “She never got hysterical or lost her temper.”

Choking up, Ms Lin said her family gave her the “greatest support”.

“I have to remain strong and live on, even if it’s for them,” she said.

Beautician has to get prosthetic limbs, can’t afford hands yet

Ms Lin said she hasn’t bought prosthetic hands as they cost at least S$14,000.

Currently, she only has prosthetic legs, which she is paying for in instalments — they cost more than S$15,000.

Furthermore, Ms Lin has a hole in her colon and she had to get a stoma bag connected to her abdomen so she can excrete waste.

“I was discharged from the hospital in January and only recently got my prosthetic legs. I’m still adapting to everything.”

She is thankful and grateful for her family’s support, as well as that of her former employer.

When Ms Lin came down with her illness, the salon paid part of her expenses.

“The insurance I have only covers me in Malaysia. I needed money urgently at the time, so my boss helped with my expenses and allowed me to recover with peace of mind.”

She noted that although she isn’t working for them anymore, she is still very grateful to them.

Hopes to continue getting treatment in Singapore

Unfortunately, following her ordeal, Ms Lin’s work permit was reportedly cancelled and she may have to return to Malaysia.

“I received treatment in Singapore and have to go back to the hospital for follow-up visits, so my doctor wrote a letter to inform the authorities of the situation,” she said.

Source: Shin Min Daily News on Facebook

She also hopes to continue getting treatment in Singapore.

Undaunted by her circumstances, Ms Lin hopes to continue working after she recovers.

“I hope to find a job in Singapore,” she said. “I’m also willing to talk to others who are in the same situation to help them.

A rare disease

According to medical experts Shin Min talked to, Ms Lin’s circumstances are not common.

Dr Loh Jiashen, an infectious diseases specialist at Farrer Park Hospital, said bacterial infections rarely lead to amputations.

“Amputation of all four limbs is an extreme case,” he noted. “Generally, amputations occur when the patient already has underlying diseases or sought medical treatment too late.

Professor Paul Tambyah, President of the International Society for Infectious Diseases, also noted that such cases are rare. However, if the patient refuses amputation, they may die.

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Featured image adapted from Shin Min Daily News.

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