More than 16,000 emergency patients brought by ambulances to hospitals last year were refused admission by at least three hospitals, the Fire and Disaster Management Agency said in a report released to media on Friday.
In 2010, the number of emergency patients refused by at least three hospitals -- a parctice which has been dubbed "ambulance passing" by the Japanese media -- was up by more than 3,000 cases compared to 2009.
The agency, which is a branch of the Ministry of Internal Affairs and Communications, said in the report that last year represented the highest refusal statistics on record. The agency also recorded 727 cases in which emergency patients were turned away from more than 10 hospitals. In one case, an emergency patient was refused by 41 different hospitals.
Reasons given for the refusals included doctors were busy in surgery or consultation, lack of available beds and equipment, and no specialist on duty able to treat the specific condition.© Japan Today