Video link-up helps SARS-hit nurse see her kids

YOUNG Mohamed Yusri and Farahnina wept on Wednesday when they were finally able to see and talk to their mother for the first time in 59 days.  

A video link-up put them in touch with Hamidah Ismail, 45, a nurse at Tan Tock Seng Hospital who contracted SARS. 

They could not hug or kiss her because they were in a “clean area” in the hospital and she was in the intensive care centre. 

But they could see her on a television screen and tell her: “Mummy, I love you,” “Mummy, get well soon” and “Mummy, I miss you.” 

Hamidah, who had a tube running down her nose and throat and could not speak, responded by blowing kisses and waving. 

She also scrawled messages on a white board, like the one to nine-year-old Yusri, the youngest of her three children, who used to sleep with her every night. 

She wrote: “Dear son, Mami missed you and love all of you. I will be back soon.” 

Her husband of 15 years, a contractor who wanted to be known only as Wadi, stood in the background, also overcome with emotion. He said: “They miss her love and they also miss her nagging.” 

After the “visit,” Farahnina, 11, told The New Paper: “At last, I’ve seen her.”  

The visit in the afternoon by the family’s eldest child, 12-year-old Sadrina, who had contracted SARS in March, was less emotionally charged. 

Said Wadi: “She’s like her mother, very tough.” 

Deputy director of the hospital's corporate communications department, Olivia Branson, who arranged the meetings, said: “We gave priority to Hamidah because it’s about time her children saw her.” 

She said the hospital is trying to provide devices to allow every SARS patient to be linked up by video with loved ones. – The Straits Times/Asia News Network 

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