Whoever said one good turn deserves another probably hasn't been to Singapore. Apparently an Aussie by the name of Filip Lou did the unthinkable by diving into the Singapore River to save a woman who attempted suicide after a break-up with her boyfriend. In the process, Lou got injured and both hero and damsel-in-distress were taken to the hospital for treatment. Guess what? The hospital insisted that Lou pay for his treatment. No wonder welfare is a dirty word in Singapore.
See report below:
Straits Times Feb 17 2009
DUTCH Australian IT executive Filip Lou, 34, was in Singapore for a conference, but ended up saving a life.
He was with his friends and colleagues in front of the Esplanade on Sunday night when 'a European woman attempting suicide leapt off the railing in front of the Merlion' he said.
'I grabbed the life buoy and threw it in after her but she did not make any attempt to hold on. Not wanting to watch her drown, I passed my mobile and wallet to my friends, took off my clothes and jumped into the dark waters after her,' he told The Straits Times on Tuesday.
Mr Lou, who works for with ILOG, an IBM company in Sydney, said the woman was neither on drugs nor drunk.
'I think she said her name was Annika and that her boyfriend had just broken off their relationship. She said she had nothing else to live for. I tried to counsel her while floating in the cold dark waters until the rescue team arrived,' he said.
While trying to climb the steps onto the Esplanade, Mr Lou cut his feet and hands on the sharp stones. 'I was not aware that my feet were bleeding and leaving red footprints on the sidewalk. I was more concerned with people photographing me in my underwear,' he said, laughing.
Mr Lou and the woman he saved were both taken to the emergency room at the Singapore General Hospital (SGH).
'My wounds were cleaned, treated and bandaged; and I was given a tetanus injection. When I went to the front desk, I was told I had to pay $90,' he said. 'I understand that it was late and the woman behind the counter was doing her job. It was not up to her to waive the fees but I had just risked my life to save a stranger. Is this really standard policy? I was quite disappointed,' he added.
Despite having to pay the $90, Mr Lou said he would do it again if a life was at risk.
When approached, a spokesman for the hospital said it is unable to waive fees for medical treatment rendered. 'But if a patient has problems making payment, he can arrange for deferred payment,' she added, but declined to comment on the victim, citing patient confidentiality.
This sorry episode prompted someone to post the following comment:
Dear Mr Filip Lou,
According to our records, you did not provide evidence that you saved a drowning woman's life. As such, we did not waive your treatment fees. To appeal, please submit the following documents within 2 weeks of this letter:
- photocopy of your NRIC or passport
- police report of this incident
- written statements from 2 witnesses not related to yourself
- written statement from the victim.
Do note that we cannot process your appeal if the above documents are not received in full within the stated time frame.
====== 10 weeks later ======
Dear Mr Filip Lou,
We have considered your appeal carefully and we regret to inform you that we are unable to waive your $90 hospital fees.
We do not currently have a policy of waiving medical fees for personal reasons such as getting hurt while saving another person.
Please note that this is our final decision. It is in your best interest that we do not waive your hospital fees as you might develop a crutch mentality. In addition, your example may encourage free loaders to pretend to save lives in order to get free medical treatment.
Nonetheless in recognition of your efforts, we are pleased to enclose a $10 Food & Beverage voucher for your use in any of our hospital's food outlets.
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