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Maid in ICU for a month with suspected brain disease, employers turn to crowdfunding

SINGAPORE — When Ms Siti Sariyah Murbaksari, an Indonesian domestic helper, first complained of fever and severe headaches in early February, her employers took her to the polyclinic.

Ms Siti Sariyah Murbaksari's current state, in a photo posted on her Give.Asia appeal page (left), and in better times (right).

Ms Siti Sariyah Murbaksari's current state, in a photo posted on her Give.Asia appeal page (left), and in better times (right).

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SINGAPORE — When Ms Siti Sariyah Murbaksari, an Indonesian domestic helper, first complained of fever and severe headaches in early February, her employers took her to the polyclinic.

There, the doctor who saw her gave her medication for fever and inflammation, and told her to rest.

Then at dawn on Feb 7, her employers heard a loud thud in the living room.

“My mother went out of the room and saw Siti on the floor. She was having seizures and her eyes were rolling upward,” Mr Ibrohim, who declined to give his full name, told TODAY on Friday (March 6).

Doctors suspect that the 33-year-old maid is suffering from an autoimmune brain inflammation, which can cause cognitive impairment, said Mr Ibrohim, 30.

Since then, she has been in a medically induced coma in the intensive care unit at Ng Teng Fong General Hospital. She is also relying on breathing support.

Ms Siti, a mother of two boys aged four and nine, has been working with his family since 2018.

“My mum had a mother-daughter relationship with Siti. They would go to religious classes together and Siti would always go out of her way to please our family,” said Mr Ibrohim, who lives with his mother and brother, who is in his 20s.

Now Siti’s employers are doing their bit to help her out.

They have created a page on fundraising platform Give.Asia to appeal for donations and hope to raise S$200,000 for her medical expenses as well as transport to fly her back to Indonesia if her condition improves.

After two days, they have successfully raised more than S$60,000.

Up till March 3, Ms Siti’s medical treatments have cost more than S$105,000 and this amount is mounting as she remains in critical condition.

On the crowdfunding page Mr Ibrohim created on Give.asia, he wrote: “Though there’s insurance for Siti, however, it can only claim up to a maximum of S$15,000, and the financial burden is too much for the family to bear.

“We would definitely want Siti to recover if possible before sending her home to recuperate.”

HER CHILDREN ASK EVERY DAY: WHEN WILL THEIR MOTHER WAKE UP?

Mr Ibrohim constantly updates Ms Siti’s husband, who lives in Semarang, on her condition.

Speaking to TODAY over the phone in Bahasa Indonesia, Ms Siti’s husband, who gave his name as Mr Khofur, 38, said he was shocked to hear the news.

“Since I knew her, she hardly fell sick. She was a very strong woman,” said the construction worker.

Mr Khofur said his children would ask him every day: When will their mother wake up?

“Siti used to call home and talk to them almost every night so they miss her a lot,” he said.

Asked if he is worried about the mounting medical bills, Mr Khofur said: “We’re not very rich, and I don’t have that kind of money to pay the hospital. All I can do now is pray for help.”

In response to TODAY’s queries, the Indonesian embassy said it is aware of Ms Siti’s situation and is providing assistance to her family, including arranging for health insurance from the Indonesian government.

Mr Ibrohim said that he has been overwhelmed by the support received and asserted that all contributions will go directly towards paying off her hospital bills.

He even received contributions which amounted to S$5,000 from other Indonesian helpers who knew Ms Siti, through her brother’s former helper.

“We are doing all this for her because she is a part of our family,” said Mr Ibrohim.

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fundraising crowdfunding brain inflammation maid

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