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Hospital fails to report 5 deaths in rooms amid heat wave

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While it is sad and probably negligent, we take it for granted the luxury of A/c's and so on. All it takes is a month of neglect for modern civilization to fall back to desperate conditions. I for one would prefer building some natural tolerance even if you are from developed world. People around the world used to survive decently not long ago without some of these amenities. How is the body going to adapt if you are used to A/c everywhere (cars, offices, home, restaurants e.t.c)?

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Last year I had twice surgery in an Indonesian hospital. Conditions in second and third class rooms there were better than in 90% of hospitals in Japan. 

Agreed. I have been amazed at how backward and Third-world most hospitals are in Japan.

Always amusing to see people mentioning 'third world' conditions when they come from a developed nation where you find the best med care when you're affluent and the worst when you lack the means..

Given that I do understand their frustrations :)

-2 ( +0 / -2 )

About a decade ago a hospital near me closed. They couldn’t find enough staff. Nurses wouldn’t do the more menial, basic cleaning work. Justifiably so. I wonder if this hospital didn’t have comparable problems. The management was accused of being old fashion.

2 ( +2 / -0 )

Harry Gatto

You guys must have been in a lot of Japanese hospitals to reach those conclusions.

Yes, in 45 years in Japan I had to endure more Japanese hospitals than I care to count. In addition I have the opportunity to visit numerous hospitals in Japan and East Asia in a professional capacity. Japanese hospital management is way below international standards. If you care to check online yourself, you may compare how many hospitals in Japan are ISO accredited compared to for example Thailand or other so-clled third World countries in Asia. On your next hospital visit here, check out, just one example the nurse stations and look how they are organised.

3 ( +3 / -0 )

Having just said beds are in short supply, I noticed this (update?) in the article: “...hospital has a capacity for 119 patients and about 50 were staying” I think what I said still hold true for the country in general. It’s certainly true for this area.

Likely patients or their loved ones avoid this hospital. It doesn't look the best of places.

This hospital is one of the few that deal with patients with chronic conditions. Most hospitals in Japan only provide care for those with acute illnesses.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Having just said beds are in short supply, I noticed this (update?) in the article: “...hospital has a capacity for 119 patients and about 50 were staying” I think what I said still hold true for the country in general. It’s certainly true for this area.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

Smith, “Well, which is it? You moved them to rooms with air-conditioning OR used fans to substitute?”

I had the impression they moved the patients that they considered most vulnerable into rooms with functioning air conditioning, and fans were brought into the rooms without air conditioning for the patients remaining in them. It wasn’t an either or situation.

I saw the head doctor/owner of the hospital interviewed on tv. Didn’t seem the sharpest tool in the box.

Hospitals ought to have agreements with other hospitals to take their patients in case of an emergency evacuation or such but I’m not sure to what extent that’s required by law. And of course the facility with the problem needs to make a request to the receiving facility. But beds for elderly patients are in short supply these days so I don’t see how every situation can be covered.

In in any case it looks like this fellow thought he could scrape be with some slapdash measures.

2 ( +2 / -0 )

"It argued that staff members had moved patients with serious conditions to air-conditioned rooms and used fans to substitute for air conditioners."

Well, which is it? You moved them to rooms with air-conditioning OR used fans to substitute? And I've news for you: blowing around 40°C air in a closed room, or even with windows open, does zero to cool you down. May as well play an audio cassette of wind chimes.

This was obviously negligence, because even if they did not die from heatstroke due to the broken air-conditioner, the hospital still did not report the latest death to police.

5 ( +5 / -0 )

Big companies, schools have contracts, with electricians, plumbing engineers, food suppliers etc, so tell me how does a hospital, not have a air con engineer available? and especially to have a emergency call out built into the agreement and "top priority" as the hospital has venerable patients, as for the fans, well they don't cool you all they do is blow warm/hot air around, there are a lot of tool hire places here in the UK so I am sure that Japan has them to, so why couldn't some one hire a air con unit as a temporary measure? who ever runs this hospital has got some question to answer for.

5 ( +5 / -0 )

All criminal should be punished.

Now in Japan, any portable Air conditioner system can be supplied within a day or less time, how came they could not arrange it?

1) Need to check their record, whether Hospital management call for such portable Air conditioner system service or not?

2) Also need to check, when last time they inspect those Air conditioner system?

3) Which govt. official has the duty to check and ensure such hospital quality & service?

Citizen paying hug tax, insurance & treatment fee not to play and enjoy.

5 ( +5 / -0 )

My AC broke down and a quick phone call later the same day it was fixed-less than 12 hours after!

3 ( +3 / -0 )

An absolute scandal. Those responsible should face manslaughter charges.

3 ( +3 / -0 )

I had surgery in 1993 in Japan. The surgeons, nurses and operating room were star trek modern however the room i spent 2 nights in scared me that i was going to get some illness. My Japanese American son developed meningitis a day after birth in Japan . The hospital had a raw sewage smell. He was in the hospital for 5 weeks and survived but I would say that the deaths of those old folks could have been avoided by buying portable air conditioning units.

4 ( +5 / -1 )

Sounds like negligence.

Can't they have been transferred to another hospital? A hospital that cannot provide a minimum standard of care is not a functioning hospital.

2 ( +3 / -1 )

If people indoors can get heatstroke and die, just imagine what might happen during the summer Olympics in 2020.

7 ( +7 / -0 )

Somehow I think the office of the Chief of the Hospital didn't lose its air conditioning.

And that if it did, it wouldn't take a month to fix it.

Just saying....

7 ( +7 / -0 )

Conditions in second and third class rooms there were better than in 90% of hospitals in Japan.

Agreed. I have been amazed at how backward and Third-world most hospitals are in Japan

You guys must have been in a lot of Japanese hospitals to reach those conclusions.

0 ( +5 / -5 )

Negligence at minimum, manslaughter, possibly murder not out of the question!

I had an office in a very old building & each summer the AC would crap out, often took up to 2weeks wait, so I just worked from home, & eventually found a new office space, no biggie for me as I work from home all the time anyway.

But for this hospital, WTF, patients should have been promptly moved into other rooms even if it meant bunking with others in the short term.

BUT NO, frigging fans & now people are DEAD.

So I ask my age old question, do YOU wanna grow old in Japan? Now have another issue piled on top of so so many other issues, what a damned mess & disgrace!

2 ( +3 / -1 )

Surely the overpaid Diet fat cats could have easily donate air conditioners, but that's only wishful and deep dreaming. However in reality, while the elderly and common taxpayers get taken their greedy pockets get fatter and this is an end result.

1 ( +2 / -1 )

Although given the circumstances, the measures taken by the hospital were inadequate, I think it’s perfectly feasible that the hospital was told it would take a month for the repairers to get around to them.

Just a few days ago, on an article on this site about the high volume of air conditioner sales in this year’s heat, someone commented “Try to buy one in the weekend and was told it takes four weeks to get it fitted so by then summer will be over”.

4 ( +5 / -1 )

@Disillusioned

I agree. Obviously it shouldn't take 1 month to fix the aircon in a hospital during a heatwave. The problem should be fixed immediately and at whatever cost - but it's not just that. Where was the outcry from all the doctors, nurses, and admin staff who worked in this hospital? Why did it take the death of 4 people before this situation became public?

I understand that being submissive to authority is part of the way of life here, but surely at least one doctor or nurse could see that something was wrong, and speak out about what was happening.

7 ( +7 / -0 )

According to the article in NHK even though they were told it would take a month to repair the hospital didn't think anything would happen.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

the air conditioners broke down on Aug. 20 and it had since used nine fans because it would need one month to fix the equipment.

This is absolute bollocks! There is definitely something suss about the admin of this hospital. They were prepared to wait a month through the middle of summer to get the aircon fixed and replaced them with fans for the interim? Obviously, this is just a penny-pinching move that put the health of the patients at risk and resulted in deaths. There is no reason for a one month delay in repairing them other than, waiting for the summer peak prices to fall. If it is true they had to wait a month, portable air-conditioning units should have been purchased and installed for the interim. Just another Japanese 'ketchy kaisha' (stingy company).

8 ( +8 / -0 )

The media really needs to shine a light on the third-world conditions at many privately-owned hospitals, these 三ちゃん病院.

4 ( +4 / -0 )

The hospital, which specializes in treating the elderly...

Hardly. It should read:

"The hospital, which claimed to specialize in treating the elderly..."

8 ( +8 / -0 )

"I'm worried about him," the man said as his father was moved from the second floor to a floor with broken air conditioners without clear reasons.

This doesn't seem sensible.

4 ( +4 / -0 )

Last year I had twice surgery in an Indonesian hospital. Conditions in second and third class rooms there were better than in 90% of hospitals in Japan.

Agreed. I have been amazed at how backward and Third-world most hospitals are in Japan.

7 ( +12 / -5 )

The hospital, which specializes in treating the elderly, said the air conditioners broke down on Aug. 20 and it had since used nine fans because it would need one month to fix the equipment.

Last year I had twice surgery in an Indonesian hospital. Conditions in second and third class rooms there were better than in 90% of hospitals in Japan.

4 ( +9 / -5 )

What a terrible thing.

Let me guess. The boss told a bunch of doctors and nurses and staff to do something ludacris or がまん-like and all these professionals knew it wasn’t right, but they are long accostumed to blindly following orders.

I think this is the “blind side” in Japanese efficiency.

A good half of lifeguards would probably leave a kiddy pool if told that they should by their superior.

4 ( +11 / -7 )

Criminal, in a hospital air conditioning is a basic requirement just ask any doctor!

12 ( +13 / -1 )

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