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Patient dies after ambulance taking him to hospital hits a car

31 Comments

A man in his 80s who was in a state of cardiac arrest died after an ambulance taking him to hospital was involved in a traffic accident in Odawara, Kanagawa Prefecture.

According to police, the accident occurred at around 2:30 p.m. Wednesday. TV Asahi reported that the patient had collapsed at home and the ambulance was taking him to hospital when it hit a car. About 15 minutes after the accident, another ambulance arrived to take the man to hospital but he was pronounced dead on arrival.

An Odawara fire department spokesperson said, "There should never be traffic accidents involving ambulances. It is very regrettable.”

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31 Comments
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Very regrettable indeed. Fifteen minutes? Something doesn't add up. Also I can't imagine any ambulance crashing as the only ones I see are pretty careful, and pretty slow.

Did the ambulance hit another car or did another car hit the ambulance?

10 ( +11 / -1 )

An Odawara fire department spokesperson said, “There should never be traffic accidents involving ambulances. It is very regrettable.”

agreed, so it's destiny, RIP.

-4 ( +1 / -5 )

gaijinfoFEB. 20, 2015 - 07:06AM JST Fifteen minutes? Something doesn't add up. Also I can't imagine any ambulance crashing as the only ones I see are pretty careful, and pretty slow. Did the ambulance hit another car or did another car hit the ambulance?

I've seen kids pass ambulances on bikes they move so slow. Not that they have much choice on most Japanese streets.

4 ( +7 / -3 )

An Odawara fire department spokesperson said, "There should never be traffic accidents involving ambulances.

Either this is a typically disingenuous statement or this person needs a lesson in statistical probability. Accidents are always going to happen.

What they need to do is clearly outline when a damaged ambulance (ie. with a cracked windscreen etc) should or shouldn't keep driving on to the hospital.

5 ( +7 / -2 )

An Odawara fire department spokesperson said, “There should never be traffic accidents involving ambulances. It is very regrettable.”

Im surprised that this incident doesnt occur more often. The roads here are simply to narrow. Especially for emergency vehicles & when precious minutes (15 min. @that) of one's life is on the line.

0 ( +2 / -2 )

The problem over here is that they MUST have a doctor on board if they want to use special medical equipment that could eventually keep the patient alive, but they just don't have them....

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I've seen kids pass ambulances on bikes they move so slow. Not that they have much choice on most Japanese streets.

This. Many times ive seen people still slowly crossing the street in front of an oncoming ambulance.

Strange, I tried to search for more news about this accident but can't find anything about it.

5 ( +6 / -1 )

A very sad story.

Try living in the UK. 15 minutes would be regarded as fairly average (yep!) and even if you are fortunate to get into an ambulance the chances are that you might be sitting on a trolley at the hospital waiting to get into A&E.

Japan is light years ahead of the UK.

3 ( +5 / -2 )

FightingVikingFeb. 20, 2015 - 08:35AM JST The problem over here is that they MUST have a doctor on board if they want to use special medical equipment that could eventually keep the patient alive, but they just don't have them....

There simply aren't enough doctors to put a doctor in every ambulance.

In theory anyone can use the equipment if the patient is going to die (Japan has a version of the Good Samaritan law, which protects you from prosecution if you take reasonable steps to save someone's life), but given how close most hospitals are it is hard to justify performing a risky procedure in a moving vehicle when the hospital is just minutes away.

gaijinfoFeb. 20, 2015 - 07:06AM JST Very regrettable indeed. Fifteen minutes? Something doesn't add up.

What doesn't add up? The ambulance is hit by a car. It takes time for them to notify the hospital of the accident and for another ambulance to be dispatched. Given that ambulances are in short supply they may have had to wait for an ambulance to drop off a patient and then come to collect their patient. 15 minutes is actually quite a short delay.

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Did the ambulance stop because of the need to call the cops for even the most minor bump?

Ambulance crashes are less rare in other nations, where they haul as$ to save lives.

In a hurry to the hospital? Call a cab.

3 ( +6 / -3 )

In a hurry to the hospital? Call a cab.

Amen to that

6 ( +7 / -1 )

But, there is nothing to say he would have survived even with a 15 minute delay. He was in his 80's and the article states "cardiac arrest", which is dead in Japanese because ambulance drivers cannot pronounce someone dead. I agree, the accident was 'regrettable', but accidents happen.

4 ( +4 / -0 )

On the whole, Japanese drivers are ostensibly such safe drivers because they are so attentive to the road right in front of them and to the other passive/ultra-defensive drivers like themselves that they encounter, but I've found that they possess almost no situational awareness to anything outside of the norm and are far too often oblivious to emergency vehicles and fail to either yield the right of way to them or simply get out of their way. I think this is one reason why emergency vehicles are forced to drive so slow here. How often have you seen drivers just sit there and do absolutely nothing to get out of the way of an ambulance bearing down on them with sirens wailing until it's stuck behind them and the driver has to ask them on the loudspeaker to get out of the way? Definitely one of my pet peeves about Japan.

6 ( +8 / -2 )

Ambulance drive very slow in Japan but the problem is that drivers live in dream land and don't even get out of the way.

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Thats exactly right, they do not see much other than whats directly in front of them and a lot of them are multi tasking at the same time, texting, smoking, make up and such or listening to music or the mobile phone so they may not here see or here an ambulance coming with its siren and voice warnings. When it comes to good driving awareness and anticipation are crucial. You should know at all times whats around you. Whats in front, whats behind and whats coming the other way. If it is an ambulance you get out of the way. If there at the lights it is not a time to lose concentration always keep glancing at the rear view mirror and keep and eye of whats happening around. You may just need to move fast. As for the ambulances themselves here, I found the one instance we needed one it arrived so quickly and they were very professional and attentive. They were brilliant really.

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I don't know what the protocol is for ambulances in Japan but it seems strange to me that they be transporting the dead. Shouldn't the coronal's office do that. Seems like a was but I not sure what the training is for those on ambulances. If they are not some grad of paramedic, it just a waste. I used to just under a paramedic in NY during my youth in college. I was able to start IVs and defibrillate, just could not intubate. I never understood EMS in Japan, just seem unsafe. They don't know what hospital they can go to before getting to the patient. We always knew what hospital was available and which ones were specialize in what. The for real bad cases we went to the Trauma center. Hate see what they would do for a an airplane crash like we had one year.

0 ( +1 / -1 )

Former paramedic, when driving an ambulance at high speeds because it's life or death even on an open 4 lane road can be dicey.

Driving on a typical Japanese road? I don't envy the ambulance drivers here. I mean, at least in my country, people tend to get out of the way pretty quickly, in Japan, most drivers don't want to move like they have a schedule that's more important to keep than to helping the medics get to a hospital.

5 ( +5 / -0 )

I often see cars not getting out of an ambulance's way in addition to cars continuing through intersections even when one is coming with sirens blaring.

I find that very selfish and would bet a million dollars that if it were their family member in that ambulance they'd be pulling over to the side in a split second to let it through.

2 ( +2 / -0 )

harvey, you are never supposed to drive over the speed limit not matter what and you are supposed to drive at speeds dependent on the weather. EVAC was a fun class. One student almost flipped an ambulance.

Not matter what country you are in, there are idiots that don't give way to emergency vehicles even police. But Japan does have some too narrow streets where drivers have no where to pull aside..

0 ( +0 / -0 )

gaijinfoFeb. 20, 2015 - 07:06AM JST Very regrettable indeed. Fifteen minutes? Something doesn't add up. Also I can't imagine any ambulance crashing as the only ones I see are pretty careful, and pretty slow. Did the ambulance hit another car or did another car hit the ambulance?

What doesn't add up? The second ambulance being slow? I don't know about that, but if you're 80 and had a heart attack you're already facing a pretty poor prognosis, if the ambulance's electrical systems or equipment were compromised in the accident so they had to ventilate him manually it's difficult to imagine a happy outcome. Likely the crash had little to do with this death though. I think it's likely someone hit the ambulance.

2 ( +2 / -0 )

I was under the impression that ambulances here are nothing more than glorified taxis. They are not allowed to perform any treatment other than the most basic or push any drugs that might, say, restart a heart. Theres no such thing as a paramedic. They cant start IVs. Dont know about defibrillation. Definitely cant intubate.

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NathalieBFeb. 20, 2015 - 01:59PM JST I was under the impression that ambulances here are nothing more than glorified taxis. They are not allowed to perform any treatment other than the most basic or push any drugs that might, say, restart a heart.

I guess you've read this:

http://www.japantimes.co.jp/opinion/2006/03/29/editorials/japans-paramedics-in-a-straitjacket/#.VOb3RJwoqCp

Although I believe they have defribs, at least I saw them use one once, and they are everywhere for anyone to use now anyway so..

0 ( +0 / -0 )

A big rubber bumper needed on rescue vehicles here to push the idiots out of the way who can't think they should get out the way and possibly stop a person from dieing

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Seldom see cars pull over for ambulances. In fact, I often see cars driving as fast as ambulances right behind the ambulance. What is taught at driver's school?

3 ( +3 / -0 )

In Hokkaido, where I've been for the last couple of years, I've found drivers very courteous and respectful of ambulances as well as pedestrians. Is it just Hokkaido?

0 ( +0 / -0 )

I put my emergency flashers on, pull over, and make as much room as possible when an ambulance has its siren on. I've found that once I do that, Japanese drivers will remember their training and follow suit. I rarely see J-drivers here do that first.

1 ( +3 / -2 )

People in Japan will start pulling over for emergency vehicles on a regular basis when laws are enforced and fines are given for those who don't!!! Wayback before I ever move to Japan in Texas if you didn't yield to an emergency vehicle The co-driver took down your license plate number and you got a hefty fine in the mail! I hate that most people don't get out-of-the-way quick enough or tailgate the back of an ambulance or other emergency vehicle! My American friends pulled over for an ambulance and then we're not only rear ended by the car that was coming up behind them that didn't stop but also the ambulance!,

1 ( +2 / -1 )

Japan needs to upgrade its ambulance care practices and procedures such as allow trained medical personnel on board the ambulance with enough emergency first aid and hefty fines for all motorists who do no yield right of way to any emergency vehicle in the course of conducting official duties

2 ( +2 / -0 )

FightingVikingFEB. 20, 2015 - 08:35AM JST The problem over here is that they MUST have a doctor on board if they want to use special medical equipment that could eventually keep the patient alive, but they just don't have them....

How stupid is that? Why do they think paramedics exist in other countries? " Special medical equipment"? What do they designate as "special medical equipment" - defibrillators? IV drip? Respirators? Stethoscopes? Thermometers?

Idiots.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Instead of the polite crew on the loudspeaker they need to get more bone-shaking air horns akin to the ones used overseas on fire trucks. Just last week I saw people cross (and block) an ambulance at Shibuya crossing.

Air horns scare the bejeesus out of pretty much anyone within 100m & with windows up and it seems difficult for a few thick people to click that even at a red light for example that they should move forward into the intersection to get out of the way. A fire truck (or ambulance for that matter) giving you the wrong end of a massive horn gives you that kick in the pants you need to let them through by any means possible. (as you indeed should do even w/out it)

2 ( +2 / -0 )

Ambulances are so polite and drive rather slow compared to what I'm used to back home. They rarely go right through intersections without checking for clearance. I wonder who was at fault.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

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