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2 hospitals to lose 'advanced treatment hospital' status after patients' deaths

31 Comments

The Health Ministry has decided to retract the status of “advanced treatment hospital” for Gunma University Hospital and Tokyo Women's Medical University due to negligence of the deaths of several patients.

The status allows hospitals to conduct advanced medical procedures. The disciplinary action will go into effect on June 1.

Gunma University Hospital has admitted negligence over the deaths of eight patients following laparoscopic procedures during liver operations. The No. 2 surgical department of the hospital in Maebashi was investigated in accordance with medical law after it was reported last year that eight patients have died in the last five years after undergoing laparoscopic surgery, a liver operation that utilizes a small cylindrical camera called a laparoscope.

All eight operations were conducted by the same doctor, who is in his 40s. The hospital said he conducted 92 liver operations between December 2010 and June 2014. The hospital suspended all liver operations last summer.

The Health Ministry faulted the hospital's management system for not allowing other doctors to have input on the surgery method, especially after the first death.

In addition to the eight deaths, Japanese media reported that 10 other patients died from complications such as blood poisoning and acute liver failure within three months of undergoing open liver surgery at the hospital's No. 2 department by the same doctor. They were aged from their 60s to mid-80s.

Meanwhile, at Tokyo Women's Medical University Hospital, a 2-year-old boy who was under observation in the intensive care unit following neck surgery died in February, 2014, after being given an injection of the sedative propofol.

Toshimasa Yoshioka, president of Tokyo Women's Medical University, admitted later that propofol had been given to 63 children between 2009 and 2013. Of the 63 children, 12 have since died, some within a few days of the receiving the injections, others within three years.

However, hospital officials said most of those children died of infections.

The 2-year-old boy was put on a steady dose of anesthesia and pain killers after he underwent neck surgery, and was put on a ventilator in intensive care for observation. However, three days later, the boy suddenly died after suffering an unexpected acute cardiovascular failure.

Hospital officials said propofol, which was administered to the child, was most likely the cause of death.

According to the official propofol use instructions, the drug is not supposed to be administered to patients in intensive care who are relying on artificial respiration units, or to children younger than 14.

This will be the second time that Tokyo Women's Medical University Hospital has had its advanced treatment status revoked.

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31 Comments
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That's it? No criminal negligence?

4 ( +6 / -2 )

You have to be very careful where you go in Japan. Many hospitals and doctors are truly awful.

I recently had a doctor get angry at me for asking too many questions about a potential neck surgery. He said 'Why does nobody ever ask a pilot how an airplane flies but everyone feels free to question a doctor about everything?!'...Needless to say I haven't been back.

5 ( +7 / -2 )

It does make me feel somewhat better to find out I'm not the only one to have experienced incompetent medical care in Japan...

6 ( +8 / -2 )

@M3M3M3 I required extensive brain surgery last year to remove a large tumor. I went to three different hospitals before I found one where I was comfortable going through the procedure at. I also wen through the rounds of angry surgeons, simply because I had a lot of questions. Even among the university hospital, the standard of care and the professionalism of the medical staff varied greatly from one hospital to another.

7 ( +6 / -0 )

This is another scenario you would not find in another country.

-1 ( +2 / -4 )

@kiwi07

I hope you found somewhere good and made a full recovery. I think the best thing for people to do is to shop around and get a third, fourth and fifth opinion. I found that the worst hospitals are usually the biggest and most famous ones with the 'best' reputations.

I was really lucky to find a great hospital and doctor in Hamamastu. He used surgical techniques which were developed in Switzerland and other countries but not yet practiced anywhere else in Japan.

3 ( +2 / -0 )

This is another scenario you would not find in another country.

Wrong there, the IOM in the USA states that 98,000 patients a year die due to doctor mistakes. So one of the leading causes of death in the USA is being treated by a doctor in the USA. It is buyer beware worldwide when it comes to healthcare.

5 ( +6 / -0 )

The families involved have filed a criminal negligence complaint with the police. The police are still investigating.

4 ( +4 / -0 )

If a doctor is irritated by my questions, he's out. That's a major red flag for me. It suggests that he can't explain his actions (and therefore doesn't really understand them) and is arrogant (which means more likely make mistakes).

If somebody is going to be drugging me or cutting into my body, it has to be someone I have no serious doubts about. After all, it's life or death for me - but to the doctor, I'm just one of the hundred or so patients he may see each day.

10 ( +9 / -0 )

The standard of Japanese hospitals and doctors never ceases to amaze me, and I don't mean in a good way.

1 ( +4 / -3 )

As was said.

The good ones are excellent, the bad ones are mediocre at best. Heard some real horror stories about some University Hospitals.

Do your research on Hospitals, Doctors, etc beforehand asFranchesca said. The Hospital that removed my Gallstones had the No. 3 Specialist in Japan(also operates overseas), great Staff but the Hospital didn't look like much.

2 ( +3 / -1 )

And no doubt within a year they'll be able to reapply for said status, or just change their name and register under the "advanced treatment hospital" tag again and it'll be back to gross negligence resulting in death but no punishment in no time. Only in Japan do they admit such negligence and receive NO punishment -- and sorry, but this is not what I would call 'punishment'. The justice system here must get really confused if a mass-murderer turns out to be a surgeon.

2 ( +4 / -2 )

I may not be a hospital administrator, but it seems that Gunma facility needs to fire a couple of doctors to fix their problem.

5 ( +5 / -0 )

Has anyone used TWMC in Arakawa? The place is a joke!!!

0 ( +0 / -0 )

When still married to my first husband, both our first baby and I almost died from an injection I was allergic to... (the doctor hadn't checked before administering it.

I was going to get married again but It was at a "University hospital" that my fiancé died after being diagnosed as "drunk" when he had brain haemorrhage...

1 ( +3 / -2 )

Sometimes doctors here drive me up the wall. The good doctors are incredible, but the bad ones are really, really bad.

I had to have an emergency C-section when I had my daughter at a large hospital in Tokyo. Within hours of the surgery they refused to give me pain medication because it (according to them) hinders the healing process. I was in so much pain that I had a terrible panic attack (which I often get at times of great stress) and I was having trouble breathing. They wouldn't even believe me when I was telling them I was having a panic attack - the midwife with me just kept saying "You need to calm down, just calm down nothing is wrong". Eventually they gave me tylenol (frickin tylenol!) and put me on oxygen.

Won't be going back there for the next baby.

3 ( +3 / -0 )

I had to go to a hospital for a leg amputation and they ended up taking off the wrong one. Never go to a hospital in Japan. Ever!

0 ( +1 / -1 )

It does make me feel somewhat better to find out I'm not the only one to have experienced incompetent medical care in Japan...

I am not a Happy Camper either. The quality of medical care here is about at least 10 years behind of USA.

It is too bad I had to receive almost 40 msv ct scan exposure at once while I could have done it with 3msv in US. You know it is very bad to get that high dose to your body. My Japanese doctors were ready to drop me in middle of treatment when I questioned about the radioactive exposure. Many just do not want me to raise too many questions. I will be here until next year Spring, so I need to do what I need to do......then I will see doctors in University hospital in US. I am just frustrated in despair.

1 ( +2 / -1 )

If a doctor is irritated by my questions, he's out. That's a major red flag for me. It suggests that he can't explain his actions (and therefore doesn't really understand them) and is arrogant (which means more likely make mistakes).

Well if your one of those anti-vaccine people and you keep asking dumb questions; like does it cause autism, then yes I can see where a doctor would become irritated with the questions.

-2 ( +1 / -3 )

The problem in Japan is that you cannot sue a doctor or a hospital for negligence. well, you can try, but by law, the hospitals do not need to submit any documents. they are even allowed to erase parts of documents they do decide to submit. in such environment, is it surprising that doctors just do not give a damn?

-1 ( +0 / -1 )

Well if your one of those anti-vaccine people and you keep asking dumb questions; like does it cause autism, then yes I can see where a doctor would become irritated with the questions.

Uh... dude? Why would an anti-vaccine person be in the doctor's office asking about vaccines? People who want vaccines get them. People who don't want them don't get them. And who defines what a dumb question is? People who can't distinguish between "your" and "you're"?

1 ( +1 / -0 )

"The quality of medical care here is about at least 10 years behind of USA." Some would argue it's more like 30 years, at least.

0 ( +3 / -3 )

The problem in Japan is that you cannot sue a doctor or a hospital for negligence. well, you can try, but by law, the hospitals do not need to submit any documents

There is no transparency in information sharing for diagnosis and prognosis of disease to others. I am having troubles with Japanese doctors to make commitments in writing prognosis to US medical teams. Nothing to do with translation issues. .

they are even allowed to erase parts of documents they do decide to submit.

Well, Japanese doctors do not have to save specimen or tumor after surgery unlike US. US hospitals have to save it because it is a law. If you are looking for a precision based immunotherapy,. you need to ask them to save it for you prior to surgery. Otherwise they will discard it to trash bin. Everyone needs to know this. Important!!

0 ( +0 / -0 )

They should go on and check Kyoto University Hospital as well ... They are dangerous .

0 ( +0 / -0 )

I have even heard some people say that Japan is 50 years behind the USA in terms of medical technology. I mean you can never get the same stuff you see on American TV commercials. Vicodin? Adderall? Out of the question! Yes, in the USA it is you who tells the doc. what drug to prescribe based on a TV commercial and not the other way around. I guess if you do that to a J. Doc he or she would be quite annoyed.

-1 ( +1 / -2 )

Uh... dude? Why would an anti-vaccine person be in the doctor's office asking about vaccines?

Easy, they are there for another reason like an annual physical and wish to challenge the doctor on the subject.

People who want vaccines get them. People who don't want them don't get them. And who defines what a dumb question is?

Right and there is a growing call that vaccines should not be voluntary but mandatory. Well your question about why would an anti-vaccine person being the doctor's office would qualify as one.

People who can't distinguish between "your" and "you're"?

Meh, a typo. Not a big deal.

-2 ( +0 / -2 )

@ nishikat ,. Don't worry , they will gladly prescribe you opium and heroin ... and other not less dangerous drugs . How much we appreciate hypocrisy ... ( black humor ).

0 ( +0 / -0 )

@ nishikat ,. Don't worry , they will gladly prescribe you opium and heroin ... and other not less dangerous drugs . How much we appreciate hypocrisy ... ( black humor ).

I'm not sure where you get this idea, but Japan is particularly strict with narcotics. Basically you cannot get them unless you are terminally ill. I tried to get codeine one time after a minor surgery, when I was in major pain. After some consultation with my doctor, he prescribed it to me, but the pharmacy wouldn't fill the prescription. I talked with a few doctors after this, and they all basically said the same thing. This runs counter to the Western doctors' way of thinking, that it takes longer to heal when the patient is in pain.

0 ( +1 / -1 )

Be reassured that everything I'm writing on here is from a very trustful source .

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Some people post here and imply that American hospitals are the mecca of medicine and like a pleasure trip to Disneyland compared to the "Hell" you experience at J. hospitals with their medical tech. decades and decades behind. It's like you go to an American hospital and you will never experience anything bad as you are guaranteed to be seen by the equivalent of Dr. House MD. According to what I'm reading from some of these posts it's better to seek medical help from a 3rd world country rather than even the best hospital Japan has to offer. But looking forward to hearing more from these trusted sources. It's interesting.

2 ( +3 / -1 )

But looking forward to hearing more from these trusted sources. It's interesting.

Yes, Japan is at least 10 years behind of US, Why do many Japanese MDs want to come to US?

0 ( +0 / -0 )

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