SINGAPORE: On 25 August, Rachel Wan, the 26-year-old star of ‘Kin’, took to Instagram to share a poignant account of her father’s passing, revealing that he had died alone in a Singapore hospital due to understaffing issues.
Wan’s emotional revelation sheds light on the need for a transformation in the prevailing culture of overworking in the nation.
Disparities between healthcare work in Singapore and Australia
In a candid Instagram video, Wan expressed her long-standing desire to address a topic she finds deeply meaningful.
She remarked, “I came to Australia because I felt like there was a better work-life balance here,” before unveiling a recent discovery that profoundly affected her.
The ‘Kin’ star recounted her encounter with a nurse who had previously worked in the same Singapore hospital where her father had spent his final moments.
This nurse later moved to Australia, much like Wan herself.
A stark contrast between working conditions in the two countries emerged.
Wan unveiled that in Singapore, nurses might be tasked with managing “up to 12 patients at any given time”. Conversely, in Australia, nurses are limited to caring for six patients each.
Moreover, Australian healthcare staff are afforded designated rest periods between shifts, a practice reportedly absent in Singapore.
Heartbreaking account of Wan’s father’s passing
Wan’s emotions were palpable as she recounted the circumstances leading to her father’s demise, underscoring the fact that he passed away in solitude at the hospital without any loved ones by his side.
Her poignant Instagram tribute suggested that he passed away in March 2022.
Describing the events of his passing day, she detailed how her father had been transferred from the emergency ward to the general ward as his time grew short.
However, to access him, Wan and her family had to undergo a Covid-19 test, mandatory at the time for hospital visits. Tragically, her father passed away during the testing process.
Distressingly, no one from the hospital informed them of his passing.
Wan expressed her shock, revealing that they discovered his lifeless body alone in the ward without any staff present.
When she inquired about the lack of communication, a doctor allegedly cited understaffing as the reason.
Wan stressed the importance of sharing her experience, noting that the healthcare sector is not the only one grappling with such challenges in Singapore.
She asserted that overworking should not be celebrated as an achievement and urged for a shift towards a healthier work-life balance in the nation.
Her Instagram post resonated with many, drawing a flood of comments from netizens who shared their similar experiences and nurses who opened up about the demanding work environment they face.
Amidst the discussions, Wan clarified that her father’s passing was due to oesophageal cancer, not Covid-19.
A plea for empathy and understanding
In response to differing opinions, including some who highlighted Singapore’s relative advantages compared to other countries, Wan emphasized that her intention was to raise awareness about the lack of work-life balance in Singapore.
Influencer and doctor Zoen Tay also contributed to the discourse, acknowledging room for improvement in both countries’ healthcare systems.
Wan extended her empathy to Singaporean nurses, finding a sense of healing in realizing that her father wasn’t neglected due to a lack of care, but rather due to the strain of their demanding workload.