A Filipino nurse, Bernardo JR Perdido Ramos, was sentenced to 12 weeks’ jail by the court today (6 Mar) for punching an elderly man at the Orange Valley Nursing Home last year. According to information on its website, the Orange Valley Nursing Home is owned by newspaper company Singapore Press Holdings.
The court heard that Ramos was distributing bed sheets and pillowcases to residents on 21 Nov last year, when the incident occurred. While distributing bed sheets and pillowcases, Ramos’ trolley accidentally hit the bed of an elderly man, who suffers from severe dementia.
The old man, aged 77, was awakened from his sleep and sat up on the bed. He shouted, “Who disturbs me?” Instead of apologising, Ramos approached the old man and shouted back, “Why? Me! Why? Me!”
The old man then hit Ramos once on his chest. Suddenly Ramos went into a rage and started punching the old man four or five times on his face severely. The old man fell backwards onto his bed. While Ramos was punching the old man’s face, nursing assistant Dasanayak Achchillage Saman Kumara saw the incident and shouted at Ramos, “Why what happened? Why did you punch him?”
Looking angrily at Mr Kumara, Ramos continued to hit the poor old man 1 or 2 more times on his face before leaving the room. Mr Kumara then went to check on the elderly man, who was covering his face with his hand. Mr Kumara saw that there was a cut on the patient’s ear, which bled. He coaxed the elderly man to remove his hand from his face, and saw that his left eye was swollen and red.
Mr Kumara then left the room intending to inform his supervisor, but Ramos looked at him threateningly, telling him not to interfere. Eventually, Mr Kumara managed to tell his supervisor what happened, and a nursing manager lodged a police report saying that a resident at the home had been assaulted.
About an hour after the incident, the old man was asked if anyone at the nursing home – including Ramos – had punched him. However, as the old man suffers from severe dementia, he said “no” each time he was asked. Ramos was subsequently arrested.
Orange Valley Nursing Home contributing cash streams to SPH
The court also heard that Ramos was fired by the home after the incident. In mitigation, Ramos’ lawyer said his client had worked for many years in Singapore and is unlikely to find another job. He would be sent back to the Philippines after being released from jail. The incident “arose out of an accident” and was not a premeditated response, the lawyer argued.
District Judge Hamidah Ibrahim said a custodial sentence was warranted, in light of the severe breach of trust involved. The judge said, “We are talking about a 77-year-old patient of the home who has dementia. Yes he may have hit (Ramos)… (Ramos) overreacted, and overreacted disproportionately.”
It’s not known why SPH would not increase salary to hire more Singaporeans to work in its home, instead of relying on “foreign talents”.
According to a news report last Jan (‘Divestments, new income lift SPH’s gain‘), SPH revenue from its “others” segment rose $7.7 million or 48 per cent to $23.6 million, due to contributions from its Orange Valley nursing home business. As a result, “others” segmental profit before tax was $3.7 million, reversing from a loss of $1.2 million a year earlier. The report also said that SPH is starting to benefit from cash streams from its non-media investments “amid a decline in its media segment”.