"95-year-old woman dies after being rejected from 11 hospitals"

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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The situation with hospitals refusing patients is unacceptable. In the US at least this problem is not as frequent, but you still get charged 'an arm and a leg' for care. The right to live, and lead a healthy life should be possible for everyone in supposed 1st world countries. If the Japanese government is looking to further 'control' its population by refusing its citizens and residents emergency care it might as well just come out and say that the population is too great and there is no way for it to care for us all.

I have with all the love, commitment, and at times frustration... tried to reach the medical community here in Japan for the last 5 years. While I served as a Medical Training Officer for ambulance crews and hospital E.R.s in the U.S. and hold numerous qualifications in the field of Emergency Medical Care... it appeared that my 20+ years of medical experience matter "nothing" to those whom I tried to speak to here in Japan. I even met with the Vice Director of the FDMA in Tokyo, attended numerous medical seminars and gave training at hospitals, fire stations, community halls, etc. But, it seemed that I was the circus monkey, everyone came to see what little tricks I could display rather than take the training seriously. The status quo in Japan is difficult to break. I studied Japanese history & culture as an undergraduate, married a fine Japanese woman, and lived in Japan on/off for 10 years... and still cannot understand the defensive maneuvering politicians or those in government-jobs such as firefighters, paramedics, and yes... educators at health science schools display when approached about improvements or changes to the poor status of (emergency) health care in Japan -a highly civilized and technologically wise nation. It’s a great mystery. Doctors, nurses, and paramedics finish their initial training at their respective schools and hold their licensure for LIFE!! No re-training required, and if they choose to take a five year hiatus or the likes... again, no re-training is required. Their license is good for the remainder of their life. Which accounts for the poor medical care given by rescuers at a scene, hence increased injury ratios and occasionally death can result. It’s true the hospitals can make excuses about bed availability, or staffing levels, but in an environment where primary care can alleviate most accidents and health issue from becoming emergencies, the Japan medical establishment has no ears for ideas and no plans for changes -no matter how many reports are completed. But, I continue my quest for improvement, because I believe that in time, things can be better. If anyone would like to help me in my endeavor to reach and find the right contacts to be “heard”... I welcome your assistance.

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