A 95-year-old woman has died after being refused from 11 hospital emergency rooms.
At 9:34am on January 8 in Tokyo, the woman called the ambulance after experiencing heart pains. The ambulance arrived in 3 minutes but it took them another 52 minutes to find a hospital that would treat her after 11 hospitals rejected her, citing that they were “full.” At 10:26am, the 12th hospital took her in but she died soon afterwards of heart failure.
This story is all over the news at the moment and is just one of many cases that are constantly covered in the Japanese media, yet, nothing seems to be done about it. When TBS news approached the Minister of Health, Labour and Welfare, Yoichi Masuzoe, about the latest death this morning, the minister only gave a vague reply, saying that “It does happen in Tokyo too, not just the rural areas.” However, this situation does not look likely to improve, with 15 emergency wards in Tokyo and a staggering 26 emergency wards in Fukuoka closing down due to lack of financing. The media need to keep pressure on the government to improve this situation or else we will all have to face a pot-luck system when trying to receive emergency care.
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