The New Paper interviewed Dr Hee Hwan Tak to understand more about the spinal cord injury that celebrity chef Mr Muhammad Haikal Johari had suffered from. The Thailand-based Singaporean chef was involved in a motorbike accident last October in Pattaya where he broke his neck. The accident left him with spinal cord injury at the C3 and C4 vertebrae.
Dr Hee explains that spinal cord injuries involving the C3 vertebrae and above will damage the phrenic nerve responsible for breathing. Mr Haikal had to depend on a ventilator for breathing during his initial recovery.
A complete C4 spinal cord injury impairs his ability to move his limbs. The chances of recovering motor skills from a C3 and C4 level injury would depend on the degree of functional impairment. If the paralysis is partial, some sensation and motor functioning is retained with the chance to regain useful nerve function.
Mr Haikal is on a fruitful road to his recovery as he is now able to walk slowly with assistance. His physiotherapist expects him to be able to walk without assistance within four months or so.