11 suspected cancer cases neglected; 1 dead at Yokohama hospital


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"We feel a heavy responsibility."

Well I would hope so!

10 ( +10 / -0 )

Does it not have anything to do with cheap medical fees patients pay and low salaries of university doctors in Japan? I guess doctors in U.S. are more serious since they get a lot of money from patients. Then, both have to become very serious. If such things happen in U.S., lawyers will approach the survivors of the patients soon, I presume.

-11 ( +2 / -13 )

Michiko Aihara, head of the hospital, apologized at a press conference, saying "We feel a heavy responsibility."

So you should.

Why wasn't the info passed on? This is an absolute scandal and there should be a criminal investigation.

9 ( +10 / -1 )

Setting aside cost, I'm hope I'm back in the US by the time I face any serious health crises.

3 ( +5 / -2 )

Does it not have anything to do with cheap medical fees patients pay and low salaries of university doctors in Japan?

I hope not, because medicine shouldn't be about money, but taking care of others and saving lives. Sure, they don't study that hard and pay that much to the university to earn basic wages later, but if they are going to treat people according to their wallets...

6 ( +7 / -1 )

I've been pussled by the hospital system here especially concirning images (X-ray or other). If you do check in one hospital you are not given your scans if you want to go to other place for opinion. You have to start all over again. I don't understand the unwillingness to share information which is yours after all!

Even more so within same hospital - simply unacceptable!

11 ( +12 / -1 )

I hate to go to university hospitals. I do not want to become a slave of the doctors. They are very authoritative and ignorant patients must behave like slaves before them.

4 ( +7 / -3 )

Data and images are usually shared over a network within the hospital, though there is no gurantee that if data or images are sent that they are read and understood. It seems as if in this case data/ imaging was not shared or sent. IT system failure or poor medical practice?

@bogva - you can usually get a copy of your images from the hospital for a small fee. I pay around ¥2,000 yen for a DVD and CD of both ultrasound and CT each time, though you have to use a specialist image reader to analyse the data in full. The discs just come with a regular browser to view the images.

3 ( +3 / -0 )

Doctor X needed now.

0 ( +2 / -2 )

This is pathetic. Total lack of professionalism.

6 ( +7 / -1 )

@Schopenhauer I was dx'd with a malignant yet indolent cancer in Japan in 2005 (am still untreated and doing great) so I got a much deeper look into the Japanese healthcare system than most (more fortunate) gaijin do. My oncologist was nothing but helpful, even going so far as to give me his email address and answer questions. On the other hand, when I was dx'd the standard worldwide treatment, a combination of a chemo agent and a non-chemo agent) wasn't even allowed in Japan. Now it is. A genuine miracle drug has been available in the last few years in the USA but has just now been introduced into Japan (and I suspect they are very stingy with it). Funny to think about it now but when I got an MRI the doctor wasn't able to get a complete picture because my shoulders were too wide for the machine - I am not a bear of a person, more of a swimmers build. Another specialist, can't recall his specialist, examined the MRI and misdiagnosed a hernia as a swollen lymph node. Let me repeat, he was looking at the results of the MRI. And I could tell he was in a hurry and had no time for this gaijin :)

6 ( +6 / -0 )

Sounds like another episode on Doctor X.

1 ( +2 / -1 )

ZERO will happen here, except a big shouganai. It's Japan. I think I have read of ONE case where a doctor in a negligence case was fired and charged. There have been a lot of payouts, and apologies, and a few retirements, but that's it.

7 ( +7 / -0 )

I have nearly 20 years of X-rays, MRI, and CT scans in my house from over 10 different hospitals, whenever I ask for a copy for a new opinion they give them to me, I show them to the new doctor and he gives them back. I have never had any hospital refuse me!

I don't think money is the problem, it is the amount of people they need to see in one day. My doctor is over 70 yrs old and he is mean and awnry, but he was determined to make my diabetes go away, and after 6 months of yelling at me about my diet I was to a level below normal, all this with no meds, and only a monthly blood test. So I know he was not chasing money! That is why I stick with smaller clinics!

3 ( +3 / -0 )

In the U.S. no medical center would admit to this due to fear of being sued out of existence.

3 ( +5 / -2 )

as long as they bow and say shouganai that's about it then

it's not like anyone is going to jail for malpractice

6 ( +7 / -1 )

It makes me wonder why they don't even tell the patient "Hey, we found something troubling on your scans - make sure you make an appointment with your primary ASAP to follow up." Then, if the primary doesn't get the necessary scans, they'll at least know to pester the hospital that did them.

3 ( +3 / -0 )

@Jimi - I actually agree with part of what you say - yes there are times when Japan certainly wants to deal with the outside world when it suits them.

However: Cars here are not s*&t and also Yuko has a point. People living in Japan do so by choice (I do). The medical system here is certainly imperfect however the actual experiences I have had here have been pretty good and on par with that of my home country (the U.S.). Not sure about other countries as that is all I can compare to (with the exception of a couple other places I have lived which would be like apples and oranges)

-2 ( +1 / -3 )

We are Japan. This is Japan. We've been doing things in a Japanese way since time immemorial and will continue to do so. 

Perhaps you will repeat this to the 11 patients who were misdiagnosed in Yokohama. It will make them feel much better, apart from the one that died.

Biut as for foreigners complaining about things here, they complain because they have made their home here. They can't withhold their view on things permanently.

And do you know what, not everything in Japan is done well. Yes, some comments are culturally incentive but they often come from an educated position - they are familiar with different models that sometimes work better. When they appear to be a better way of doing things, it is good to share that experience with those who nothing about it.

After all, a frog in a well knows nothing of the ocean.

6 ( +6 / -0 )

There is a different standpoint to have between cars and life. I love Japan and Japanese, but they don't praise life itself. They praise keeping good habits about your health, which is a very good cultural trait.

Bad one is to put dirt under the rug, never to admit fault if possible and if so give the sho ga nai reason even for doctors. There is no sho ga nai in science if procedures exist.

My wife tells me there are quite a few doctors who like money...but I tried some and I must say they were efficient. Not good on psychological approach though.

Rip to the dead for science.

2 ( +2 / -0 )

They'll just treat this the way they did with the "Green Cross" in court back in the 90's. The "Green Cross Management" KNEW that they were holding HIV+ Blood, that was being used for transfusions, EVEN THOUGH they KNEW what would happen. It was later admitted (after HUNDREDS of people contracted HIV) that they were AWARE of this, and despite knowing all that had to be done with the blood was to HEAT it, and it would KILL the virus, they decided it wasn't "Cost Effective" they let people DIE.

No doubt the same was decided in THESE cases as well..."We'll just go to Court, IF anyone lives to tell about it". That'll be CHEAPER.

2 ( +2 / -0 )

I guess the same advice foreigners give other foreigners who dislike the banking, customs, work place, etc in Japan vs their home country. This is Japan, not your homeland - things are doing differently here. If you don't like it, nobody is forcing you to stay.

In other words, love it unconditionally, stay silent, know your place or leave.

5 ( +5 / -0 )

When you are a participating member of society, you have the right to voice criticism on that society. Anyone trying to state someone doesn't have the right to contribute to a society even though one is a contributing member of it is someone who is trying to push an illogical argument and has tried to fall back on some other way to push their argument since the logic has failed.

5 ( +5 / -0 )

I do not know precise reasons Republicans and Trump opposed to the new health insurance system introduced by Obama. Are they not thinking that the new insurance system will enable low income people more accesses to hospitals. On the other hand, the rich people might have worried that they will lose privileges they can meet good doctors by paying a lot of money. Introduction of the new socialistic health insurance system will bring down the high level of U.S. medicine by losing incentives of doctors - rewards. In Japan anybody can go to hospital without worrying about money but with worries about trust in doctors. I often feel I want to pay more if they check me more carefully spending more time.

2 ( +2 / -0 )

@Schopenhauer - American physicians don't spend any more time with patients than Japanese ones do in my experience. The healthcare system in the USA is ... plush. That is the best word I can find to describe it. And there is access to the very latest drugs and medical devices ... if you can afford them. But most people don't ever need those kind of services. What Americans do need is easy access to basic, non-plush, medical services at non-plush prices.

2 ( +2 / -0 )

This is totally unacceptable and absurd.

In the US, all medical providers are legally obligated to share the information upon patients complete and sign the Privacy Protection Release Form (Privacy Act) and it is okay to do so. '

Japanese medicine needs to adopt the same rule PRONTO here. It is important so that the patients do not have to repeat the same CT scans. We are aware that the high radiation exposure test is harmful. Or, I think, Japanese medical providers proactively do not want to do this because they are afraid to become accountable.

1 ( +1 / -0 )


Japanese government wants to do that to cut unnecessary expenses while doctors and hospitals are not willing. They have to use their medical machines to make ends meet. They invested a lot of money to install the machines at their hospitals.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

Yuko Maeda

Hope you can use this as a constructive critic so that your health care is going to be better. I am a cancer survivor of two different cancers living in the USA. I cannot go back to Japan as I cannot find the same treatment I am getting here.

2 ( +2 / -0 )

As long as you need treatment in Japan for something obvious, you are fine. If you need a diagnosis for something invisible or obscure, which may take extra time and effort you are in trouble. If it doesn't show up using machines (Xray, CT scan, MRI) most Japanese doctors go the pharmacist way: "Try his medicine and if it doesn't work come back in a week." Misdiagnosis is rampant because doctors are overworked and many hospitals are mismanaged. After being misdiagnosed by 5 Japanese doctors, I survived cancer thanks to a young doc in a Bangkok hospital who actually listened. The linkage of the pharmaceutic industry to hospitals, doctors and bureaucrats in Japan's medical care system are questionable and by most definitions corrupt. As everything in Japan, the system works ok for the masses, but if you need that little extra that may save your limb or life it fails. People don't complain because they don't know better. If nobody complains (not only foreigners), things do not improve.

4 ( +4 / -0 )


It's the diet:

Among other factors:

2 ( +2 / -0 )

It's the diet

Fish head soup is recommended.

0 ( +1 / -1 )

Back on topic please.

you can usually get a copy of your images from the hospital for a small fee.

> Do you pay? It should be free. We do not pay anything for it in the US. Wow...


-1 ( +0 / -1 )

If the diet were solely responsible for Japanese longevity then that longevity would have existed in pre-WW2 Japan, but it didn't.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

@muda - from experience one has to really push Japanese doctors on some tests. I got laughed at by my Japanese oncologist for asking for a test that is standard in the USA. But I got it.

2 ( +2 / -0 )

Almost 3 years ago I went in for my annual check up. The doctor found a polyp in my throat. His advice was to go to a larger hospital for further tests. I did and found out that it needed to be removed. The doctor said yes, but they could not do it there. I had to go to yet another hospital.

i did as told and had all the information and records with me and yes, did all the test again....

They did the surgery. Two weeks later found out it was cancer! I was referred to the nearby cancer center. Underwent radiation therapy and I’ve been cancer free since then. I go in ever 6 months for check ups. So far so good.

No, I’m not a fan of how some doctors do things, but if you take the time and find a doctor that will listen the system works great.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

I was married to a Japanese doctor years' ago and let me tell you if you get sick run as fast as you can from this country.

First, my ex came from a medical family he did not have the grades and or the want to be a doctor the parents sent my ex to a Medical Uni where many like his situation go and the parents pay big money under the table to get their kids into med school.  My ex got many D's, many negative comments and yet he is a practicing gynecologist in his parents clinic, however, prior to this he was working in a public hospital with the help of his father who is a dedicated doctor got his son in through his contacts.  My ex was fired many times, I believe he may have killed a patient as he came home one day in the middle of afternoon after transferring the lady to a larger hospital in a coma.  If you notice unlike the Western world doctors do not display their medical diplomas on the walls in this country.

Second, when I went to visit my ex once at the hospital in was in the staff room there was alcohol stacked up to the ceiling in the corner of the room.  I had spoke to another foreign woman whose Japanese husband worked in a larger hospital and she told me this was very common. Now this was years ago and so I do not know if this holds true, today, but I am guess it does.

Lastly, last year I almost died and was only days away when I went to Malaysia with my son in August.  In June, after months of suffering with swollen legs, I found my left arm turning purple not knowing what this meant went to a local doctor who told me my heart was enlarged to exercise and diet well I could not barely walk as the bottom of my feet were so painful said this was impossible.  When I went to Malaysia they figured out that a heart defect from birth a hole in my heart enlarged so much I needed emergency surgery and I was in the hospital in a week of arriving and had to have a stint put in.

Rounding up, if you get any serious illness in this country RUN, Malaysia, India and or back to your home country where the doctors actually display their medical licenses and are in many instances doubled licensed and not just in this country where they never study outside of Japan and you gamble that the doctors know what they are doing.

0 ( +1 / -1 )

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