THE Lee family had a close brush with SARS earlier this month, when Lee Kuan Yew's wife visited the Singapore General Hospital.
She was there on April 3, in the hospital's radiology department, to have her “frozen shoulder” checked. A yet-to-be diagnosed SARS victim was receiving orthopaedic treatment there at the same time.
A radiographer attended to her as well as the SARS victim, with only a curtain separating them in the ultrasound room, said Senior Minister Lee Kuan Yew.
Six days later, on April 9, the radiographer was sent to Tan Tock Seng Hospital. That night, Lee took a telephone call from a doctor asking for his wife.
Lee recalled: “He says, 'Well, you have to be careful. The radiographer who helped her and took the ultrasound has come down with SARS.”
“So my wife was in quarantine.”
A couple of mornings later, her temperature shot up to 37.8°C, close to the SARS' danger level of 38°C.
“So I rang up the doctor and said, '37.8'.” But Lee had used an ear thermometer and the doctor told him to “take it by the tongue”.
“So, we used the tongue thermometer and it was 37.3. We went back to sleep.”
Lee recounted his “near-miss” to the media on Thursday to make the point that innocent people could become victims if people did not act responsibly.
He says he checks his own temperature twice a day. – The Straits Times/Asia News Network