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Ong Yew Gin

When friends and family found out that he has been deployed at SGH’s Emergency Department (ED) since 25 March, Ong Yew Gin reveals that many of them were rather concerned. “‘Why there?’ ‘Why you?’ and ‘Don’t they have other staff?’ were some of the questions thrown at me,” he says. His father, though, was much more calm and positive, encouraging him to take this as a challenge and add it to his life experiences.

Yew Gin has been deployed there to augment the manpower required as trained ED staff in SGH are supporting COVID-19 operations nationally. But Yew Gin, who joined SNEC in March 2019, admits that he was “a little scared” when he learnt of his posting — he had only a day’s notice! Not surprisingly, there was a steep learning curve. Not only are his tasks different from that in SNEC, Yew Gin has to cope with a much higher patient load and quicker patient turnaround. He has been assigned to the non-fever area in ED. “My duties include giving medicine, sending patients to ward after admission, discharging patients, and assisting doctors in the consultation room with urine catheters, wound dressings, etc,” he describes. He is usually in a pair of gloves and a N95 mask; that escalates to full PPE when he has to enter the Acute Respiratory Infection area.

Yew Gin’s experience in nursing patients with eye problems has come in handy a number of times at the ED. He once noticed that an elderly lady, who was admitted for stomach pains, did not observe proper hygiene around her eyes, so he stepped in to clean and wash the area. “The daughter of the patient was very thankful,” he shares. “I also taught her step-by-step how to clean her mum’s eyes when she got home.”

Yew Gin is grateful for teammates who have been looking out for him, especially in the early days of his deployment. Besides patiently showing him the ropes, they also included him in the ordering of food and drinks. “The way they have been treating me makes me feel I am truly part of their team.” He is also pleased that they assess him to now be as good as regular Emergency staff. This experience is something Yew Gin treasures, as “not everyone who volunteered was chosen to be deployed”.