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COVID-19 vaccine adverse effect affected Nurse wins suit on $1,500 child maintenance cost



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A nurse, after encountering adverse effect of COVID-19 vaccine which placed her on wheelchair and rendered her jobless, has won an appeal which upturned a court order on her to contribute S$1,500 monthly for the maintenance of her children living with her former husband after separation.

The woman and her husband were said to have divorced in 2016; while the former husband relocated to the United States in 2022 with their two children aged 16 and 18 years.

A district judge had after evaluating the children’s post-relocation expenses at S$4,500 a month, then, ordered the former nurse to make monthly contribution of S$1,500.

The High Court in its judgment, noted that the woman had a severe adverse effect after taking second dose of a COVID-19 vaccine in March 2021. The former nurse spent 151 days in the hospital between March and October 2021. She was later diagnosed with Involuntary Movement Disorder, incapacitating her from resuming her job as a nurse at Singapore General Hospital (SGH).

Justice Choo Han Teck delivering judgment on her appeal, admitted that the medical condition of the nurse did not improve after hospitalisation.

The judge also stated that “her financial problems increased because of a reduction of her salary when she was on prolonged illness leave.”

The former nurse earned full monthly pay of S$8,244 for 2021, but this was said to be halved in the first six months of 2022. She received no pay for the rest months of 2022.

The woman at the hearing of her appeal, presented a letter dated December 2022 from SGH, conveying to her the termination of her appointment with immediate effect after an internal medical review found her unfit to work.

The nurse currently survives on S$2,100 monthly income from renting out her flat.

The former husband disclosed that his current income of US$5,300 or about S$7,062, was not sufficient to fund his personal expenses and the children’s expenses, with the older child entering tertiary institution.

Justice Choo had stated: “We have a situation where both parties are struggling financially, and there is no room to make any adjustments by way of give and take.

“A comparison between the lean and the leaner shows that the wife is virtually down to her last straws financially, having to contend with the costs of oxygen therapy and her living expenses, and no prospect of any alleviation because she can no longer work.”


Counsel to the husband had argued that there was no medical prognosis for the former wife’s future fitness for employment.

Justice Choo, however, declared that it was “obvious even to counsel” that the ex-wife was wheelchair-bound and barely able to speak more than a few words audibly without suffering from “shortness of breath which reduces her voice to an inaudible whisper”.

“She requires constant incubation with an oxygen tank.

“It is plain that she is in no state to undertake gainful employment.”

Justice Choo said that when the district judge ordered in 2022 that the woman contributes S$1,500 monthly to her children’s maintenance, he was aware that her medical condition and timeline for recovery was “indeterminate”.

“As it turned out, all that has changed – what might have been a mere nightmare, has become her reality.”

The judge permitted the former husband to reapply if the woman’s health and income improves.

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