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Japanese health care facilities stretched thin, doctors say

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What's a country supposed to do in the span of only three short months - prepare to respond?

36 ( +38 / -2 )

Its the cardboard beds from the Olympic village!

24 ( +25 / -1 )

It will in the 10s of thousands during this comming week. Every country that has been hit hard has not been prepared medically. Japan is no exception.

10 ( +17 / -7 )

More images and communication from NYC alone shows how unprepared and late Japan is.

15 ( +18 / -3 )

Winter is here.

2 ( +5 / -3 )

What BS.My student works for a hospital and she has been saying they’re quiet as... for weeks.Maybe they're flat-out in Kanto,but not in Hyogo,they are.

2 ( +12 / -10 )

Midleading picture to go with the story.

Those beds are for quarantine before entering the country. Nothing to do with medical cases!

Let’d carry on midleading the people.

23 ( +25 / -2 )

Many doctors specialize in cancers and heart diseases but not enough doctors specializing infectious diseases. We thought human beings overcame the infectious diseases. That was not true. Actually, no cure medicine about viruses. We have to wait vaccines more than one year after the breakout.

-2 ( +2 / -4 )

Those edges look sharp! Well we will see in a week or so if the forecast of coronavirus is true.

1 ( +3 / -2 )

I guess we can thank the Olympics for this, or at least, thank the people who said everything was fine and under control until the very day they were postponed. And then we can thank them doubly for not doing a complete lockdown, which is going to have to come later, rather than sooner, evidently. And in the meantime, yes, this will collapse, and the economy hit even harder the longer they wait.

4 ( +12 / -8 )

It is getting worse, everyday.

3 ( +9 / -6 )

Japan has nearly 7,000 coronavirus cases and about 105 deaths, but the numbers are growing. The government has declared a state of emergency, asking people to stay home.

Nearly 5,000 plus or so, due to the lack of leadership by Abe and his government!

THe next month here is not going to be fun, watching all the numbers of people who may have needlessly died!

9 ( +11 / -2 )

Only 7000 cases in a country of 120+ million, and the hospitals are stretched thin? Where the heck do our taxes go?

I had a small procedure in a Japanese hospital once, they tried to keep me in for 6 weeks for a procedure that was an outpatient 1 day procedure where I'm from. No joke.

Hospitals try to keep patients for as long as they can here to milk the national health insurance.

Again, you can't blame everything on Corona virus - but the media sure is doing its best.

21 ( +24 / -3 )

I feel terrible for this, I really do.

But looking back at the arrogance and denial of the leadership as they talked about 1,000 beds set aside like it would be enough... I still don't understand what they were expecting to happen.

The evidence of what would happen was on display around the world, and here we are, arguing for every barbershop and izakaya to stay open, and pretend that little face-masks will prevent people from contracting an extremely contagious virus.

Why, oh why, did anyone think that it was okay to wait to take action...?

22 ( +23 / -1 )

So, they are up to 6,000 cases and still growing rapidly day by day. What have they been doing for the last three months since the virus came to Japan? Oh, that’s right! They were ignoring it and pushing for the Olympics to go ahead. I fear Japan is headed for a new age of doom with this virus due to waiting so long to take action. And, even now, they are still dithering around. Close the airports! Close the bars and restaurants! Close all non-essential businesses! And, get your hands into your pockets to support the millions of people who will lose their livelihoods. Faith, ignorance and ‘shoganai’ will not stop this virus. Japan is in for a long and hard slog to beat this virus.

13 ( +14 / -1 )

When putting every positive in the hospital, that is what happens.Japan wanted to try to isolate every positive patient to make sure they do not infect everyone

mild symptoms patients staying elsewhere, which Japan starts to do should have been done earlier

7 ( +8 / -1 )

Is it just me, or does it seem odd that they say services are already stretched thin with 7.000 cases in an advanced country of 126 million? 2014 figures say there are around 8,000 hospitals, over 1.5m beds, over 300,000 doctors, and nearly 1.5m nurses. How can the health system be swamped?

Unless ... say, there are actually many, many more cases, but they are not yet tested for Covid 19, so they are considered complications from diabetes, or heart trouble, or flu, or maybe ’just’ pneumonia. Pneumonia is the third cause of death after cancer and I think, heart failure. If 7,000 cases can stretch the health system thin, what will happen when the pandemic really starts to bite here?

So could it, just possibly, be that the number of infected people is way way higher than the official figures? I wonder ...

17 ( +19 / -2 )

many hospitals were turning away people rushed by ambulance, including those suffering strokes, heart attacks and external injuries. Some people who were turned away later turned out to have the coronavirus.

As a possible COVID-19 sufferer, this is the only part of the story I believe is true. I tried desperately early in my symptoms to find medical attention and 8 emergency rooms in Osaka turned me away.

When a hospital finally admitted me 9 days later after my symptoms became much worst, they gave me as much aide as they could but refused to test me for COVID-19. They ran every test for infections in my throat as possible and they all came back negative. They tested me for the flu as well. The only thing they do know is that I have asthma as well as pneumonia according to my x-rays and CT scans. But I am not approved for a COVID-19 test. They did tell me that I could return to work even though I am struggling to breathe and my children are now showing similar symptoms as me. How far will this system go to avoid realizing the truth of this illness?

35 ( +37 / -2 )

Stretched thin already? This horrid 'party' hasn't even started yet. Japan can't afford to be stretched thin now.

11 ( +12 / -1 )

JJ Jetplane

I read online that similar things happened to one of the first covid-19 sufferers in Japan. The guy had symptoms and went to various hospitals but was rejected for testing. News had it that if the hospital he went to tested him for the virus and he turned out to be infected, the hospital needed to be fully disinfected. Apparently no hospital liked to do it so no test, no inconvenience.

18 ( +20 / -2 )

Japan has only 7,000 tested cases, because they are not doing the mass testing necessary to get a handle on this situation. The frightening part is how many unreported or unrecognised cases are being allowed to continue to spread infection throughout the population. JJ Jetplane’s case above highlights the determination not to test and so not admit the real scale of the problem across the country.

7 ( +9 / -2 )

Only 7000 cases and the system is already near collapse? I find that hard to believe, actually.

I live in Tokyo and my next door neighbor and his wife both work at the large hospital at the end of our street. Every time I see him outside he mentions how empty the hospital is compared to before the Covid-19. I'm sure some hospitals at the center of some clusters are cutting it close but certainly they could spread resources around a little bit if such a large hospital as my neighbors is nowhere near capacity? It's so strange.

10 ( +11 / -1 )

You know, it’s not even worth the time putting comments up on the net. It is clear that the J-Gov could care less about the hard working taxpayers of Japan. Especially foreigners. Abe only cares about himself and his cronies! We all have been posting all over the net for three months, practically begging for the government to take action. I know they see the comments but they did NOTHING! Oh, my bad, he gives each household two masks, which by the way I’m still waiting for.

Now looking at that photo it doesn’t take a genius to know what would happen if just one person in that crowded space is an unknowing Coronavirus carrier. So my question is why would anyone set up something like that?

Enough is enough and I’m throwing in the towel. This is my last comment. (I know some of you are happy. LOL) No more trying to convince Abe to think about the people of Japan. As long as he is the leader, we are all doomed.

11 ( +13 / -2 )

This looks worse than the Diamond Princess. Don't the people in charge think that the virus will spread easily. I also feel this is very poor journalism!

11 ( +11 / -0 )

I tried desperately early in my symptoms to find medical attention and 8 emergency rooms in Osaka turned me away.

A huge weakness in the Japanese health system - hospitals should not be allowed to turn away someone in need of medical assistance.

refused to test me for COVID-19.

This anecdote is an eye opener. If this is happening across Japan, the number of cases and deaths will explode.

11 ( +12 / -1 )

Turning away people who had strokes and heart attacks, those aren't signs of being stretched thin, those mean outright stretched beyond capacity.

3 ( +4 / -1 )

No problem. This is Japan people just keep working, getting their hair done and going to Izakayas. What happens in the hospitals clearly doesn't matter in this country, (except for the % that falls ill from the virus and worse, but even then it won't be credited to the virus because one can't get tested and one wouldn't want to meddle with the low statistics that prove there is no problem in Japan). All this time to prepare seeing what is going on in Europe and the US and next to nothing done. Suddenly now those in the health system realise there might be problem.

Foreigners such as myself just need to understand this is Japan. The Japanese will just say, it cant be helped, it was inevitable!

12 ( +12 / -0 )

So all 7000 of these people are hospitalized? and this entire country only has that many total hospital beds?

Japan has nearly 7,000 coronavirus cases

1 ( +5 / -4 )

This English doesn’t make sense. So heart attacks, strokes and external injuries are jut caused by coronavirus?

how would someone who had a heart attack be “turned away” yet it is still super important that later found out they had corona?

Wouldn’t a heart attack be much more serious than a positive test for corona which less than 1 percent of positives die from?

The statement said many hospitals were turning away people rushed by ambulance, including those suffering strokes, heart attacks and external injuries. Some people who were turned away later turned out to have the coronavirus.

1 ( +5 / -4 )

I feel sorry for the people posting that they went to numerous hospitals thinking they have it.. but in fairness that is NOT what you are supposed to do. You risk spreading the virus that way. There are numbers you are supposed to call first.

0 ( +6 / -6 )

I have just spent most the last year dealing with cancer. It involved visiting hospitals for extensive scanning, treatments, a biopsy, and an operation by robot and just seven days in hospital in a private room. I visited three hospital starting with my local one who then referred me to the hospital for a biopsy. One day and night stay. They then referred me to the third hospital for the robot operation.

I have been impressed with the doctors and nurses at all three hospitals and the levels of medical skills and healthcare I received. All the doctors discussed with me every detail of my cancer and every option available to be.

The total cost of the treatment including drugs taken daily was less than ¥250,000 for the entire year. My brother in New York assured me, even with healthcare insurance, it would have cost me several tens of thousands of dollars.

Last week, I had a post op test and I'm 100% clear from my cancer. Still recovering but very happy.

BTW I always use hospitals for my dental treatment. Found them better than private practice.

During the year I have met many other cancer suffers including foreigners who have been happy with their treatments.

15 ( +17 / -2 )

Japan isn't testing people inside of Japan, testing incoming people don't help when most likely many more are infected.

5 ( +6 / -1 )

Last week, I had a post op test and I'm 100% clear from my cancer. Still recovering but very happy.

Awesome! I hope you’re back to 100% soon.

14 ( +14 / -0 )

as_the_crow_fliesToday  05:00 pm JST

Is it just me, or does it seem odd that they say services are already stretched thin with 7.000 cases in an advanced country of 126 million? 2014 figures say there are around 8,000 hospitals, over 1.5m beds, over 300,000 doctors, and nearly 1.5m nurses. How can the health system be swamped?

Unless ... say, there are actually many, many more cases, but they are not yet tested for Covid 19, so they are considered complications from diabetes, or heart trouble, or flu, or maybe ’just’ pneumonia. Pneumonia is the third cause of death after cancer and I think, heart failure. If 7,000 cases can stretch the health system thin, what will happen when the pandemic really starts to bite here?

So could it, just possibly, be that the number of infected people is way way higher than the official figures? I wonder ...

Agreed

1 ( +3 / -2 )

patient doctor rate

Japan 500/doctor

America 390/doctor

Germany 300/doctor

Cuba 170/doctor

https://bigthink.com/strange-maps/185-the-patients-per-doctor-map-of-the-world

10 ( +10 / -0 )

How can the health system be swamped?

COVID-19 is an infectious disease. COVID patients cannot be housed with other patients; they need to be segregated. Tokyo, Chiba, Kanagawa, Gifu, Aichi, Kochi, Fukuoka, Saitama, Yamagata, Miyagi, are all reported to have more COVID patients than they have spaces in infectious disease wards.

There is a limited number of ventilators and ECMOs available. And many of them are used by patients with conditions other than COVID. Other resources are likewise in limited supply.

I recommend the site below (I believe Zichi originally posted the link).

https://www.stopcovid19.jp/#en

8 ( +8 / -0 )

@since1981 don't lose heart, your comments may convince some voters to explore alternatives to this current crop of "leaders". Ganbatte kudasai neh!

8 ( +8 / -0 )

Japan has been completely aced by Korea, which went all out, tested way more people at a way earlier date, did what they had to do and got a grip on it, meanwhile Japan snoozed. You practically have to be half dead and have already spread COVID-19 to a dozen people before they'll give you a test here. This government had months to prepare, didn't anyone watch the news and see what was going on in Italy, Spain, and the USA? Oh, be sure to close the restaurants by 8 pm and start school back up. It's going to hit the fan here shortly.

7 ( +9 / -2 )

Stretched thin? And going to get stretched thinner.

That's what you get for having NO GOVERNMENT.

Abe and crew are looking after their friends and relations and screwing the economy.

Please lets get rid of the LDP and elect some people who can actually DO SOMETHING!

12 ( +12 / -0 )

Japan gives each covid-19 patient a special room, a special nurse and a special doctor with special care and attention. There are no military tents or hospitals devoted to just treating covid-19 cases. Ambulances drive patients around from hospital to hospital waiting for a special room to be ready. Basically, Japan is trying to pretend that it can deal with this crisis without making massive adjustments to its health care system and how it treats patients. That will have to change in a hurry in the next few weeks. Get ready to see medical tents in Yoyogi Park.

3 ( +5 / -2 )

Well it’s time to reallocate some more of those 1.5 million beds to COVID. You can’t say that 5000 hospitalized people makes an entire country full.

plus what happened to those 4000 beds in Tokyo that Koike was going to demand? And the taking over of the hotels? These were supposedly why she needed her own separate emergency rules that she got.

2 ( +3 / -1 )

@jj jetplane

Mate your ordeal has really disturbed me. I don't suppose your consulate or embassy could help?

I do hope you and your family get on okay. Let us know what happens.

10 ( +10 / -0 )

I read that an elderly care center in Pittsburgh is completely infected including staff. In light of that I wonder if some hospitals in Japan just don't want to risk the entire hospital getting infected and the lesser evil is to send people away in their mind.

5 ( +5 / -0 )

Where are all the medical experts who were boasting that Japan's medical system was robust and one of the best in the world and won't be overun by the virus like S.Korea and especially Italy.

To this day, some are still in denial, thinking we are special it can't happen to us.

6 ( +8 / -2 )

RecklessToday  08:03 pm JST

I read that an elderly care center in Pittsburgh is completely infected including staff. In light of that I wonder if some hospitals in Japan just don't want to risk the entire hospital getting infected and the lesser evil is to send people away in their mind.

If I thought I had it and they turned me away, I would chain myself to something. The police would have to risk infection to get me out of there. This a colossal failure on the part of the government but they do not care as they will be far away from the suffering.

2 ( +4 / -2 )

And if a person dies of (fill in the blank) something like a stroke, even without a test or any symptoms of the virus that originated in a certain country in Asia not Japan, will those deaths also be attributed to that certain virus although completely unrelated? How about car crash victims? Also due to that certain virus?

-5 ( +2 / -7 )

@since1981 don't give up! I may or may not agree with your postings but one of the benefits of this site is that, having read the news items we are then presented with a lot of conflicting opinions, which is part of the joy of a free press, and is a good opportunity for us all to consider various viewpoints. Wish you well however you proceed, but please don't give up just because you're going through a bad patch.

...

Also, good news about Zichi.

10 ( +10 / -0 )

There is a shortage of doctors and nurses which the government have been trying to rectify for some years.

2 ( +2 / -0 )

@Bruce Chatwin. thanks for the link, that site you recommend is very clear. As the graphic shows, most of the cases are in areas with insufficient capacity for Covid19 patients (Kanagawa, 74 beds??). Even so, 1000 ICU spaces for a Tokyo with 13m people...??!! As you say, the number of doctors/100,000 people is much lower than other advanced countries. Which goes some way to explaining why they are saying the system is under strain. Its not ready, and not set up to respond to a fast changing situation.

So clearly, the J government has not made the use of the 3 month window it had to get ready for an outbreak. On top of that I believe that two things are at play.

First, an obsessive refusal to test many likely cases, even with symptoms, for political reasons *ie with an eye on future votes. Now they are tapering the increase in reported figures so that the number of foesnt too obviously shoot up straight after the cancellation of the Olympics. Also, unconfirmed Covid19 cases can be then declared as other causes of death e.g. plain pneumonia, cancer, diabetes complications etc, also minimising the extent of the outbreak to the public.

Second, official media reporting doesnt focus too insistently on the situation on the ground in hospitals (very different to where I come from). People tend to take the numbers at face value as there is very little reporting from in hospitals, analysis or comparison with other countries. The media gives the government an easy ride when it confuses and minimises, and its shambolic response. So even when politicians talk about strain on the system, the lack of context or detail doesnt give people a handle to connect it to the situation they are living now. Added to which, most people would rather not hear really bad news.

9 ( +9 / -0 )

Japan is dreadfully low for Covid19 testing.

https://www.aa.com.tr/en/latest-on-coronavirus-outbreak/worldwide-covid-19-testing-ratio-per-country-million/1800124

5 ( +5 / -0 )

As the crow

Spot on, i wouldn't have said it any better.

3 ( +3 / -0 )

@cracaphatToday  04:23 pm JST

What BS.My student works for a hospital and she has been saying they’re quiet as... for weeks.Maybe they're flat-out in Kanto,but not in Hyogo,they are.

I hope you can say that in 10day or 2 weeks I really do.

5 ( +5 / -0 )

Also Hokkaido back under a state of emergency again. Schools out from Tuesday to May 6th. Governor Suzuki asking folks to restrict their movement and not come to Sapporo.

2 ( +2 / -0 )

Japanese health care facilities are getting stretched thin amid a surge in coronavirus patients.

Can we have the name of those facilities and there number of beds in use?

2 ( +2 / -0 )

Stretched thin? I thought Japan was proud with how low their numbers are.

3 ( +3 / -0 )

Very soon it will be comfortable weather to be in a tent, surely the kind of thing DARC do with contagious specialists involved in procedures is a option

1 ( +1 / -0 )

@JJ Jetplane

Sorry to hear (read) what you are going through. I wish the best for you and your family.

5 ( +5 / -0 )

Sensational news without any facts!

Where are these facilities stretched so thin?

Hiroshima, Tottori,Hokkaido?

Facts or it is a load of BS!

0 ( +3 / -3 )

I hope you can say that in 10days or 2 weeks I really do.

So do I.

>

1 ( +1 / -0 )

Told you this was coming. Abe needs to resign.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Japanese health care facilities stretched thin, doctors say, but not broken.

0 ( +1 / -1 )

runner3 said "Told you this was coming. Abe needs to resign."

What abou your own presidents ?

-2 ( +0 / -2 )

With hope our respective Governments may learn from this event, and put in place proper measures to control similar outbreaks independently from those organisations under the influence of another party - such as the W.H.O. was evidently!

My future posts will hopefully not come to an abrupt end, though I have recently been from the frying pan, and into the fire, and seen first hand the situation locally within our regional CDC [Staff, there are clearly scared too! So Support them if you can.]

If there's a God or Kindly Spirit with whom you believe in, then maybe it's time to ask for help, as surely, we will all be in need of help of some form or other... otherwise, the first thing we can do, is to help each other, and follow the guidelines of keeping it to yourself... self-isolate as much as possible, wash hands & exposed skin as much as possible, and if after going out on a shopping run, strip and wash your clothes & yourself - but simply by keeping separate as best we can - may help transferral and save lives.

This is probably going to last a couple of months, so be prepared - don't panic hoard. Just don't go out and about to places other than Medical and Provision related - and hopefully the latter only, rather than the Former.

Best of luck to all in the coming weeks.

And if I go quiet, in future, may the CCP do so too, before my last breath for the sake of us all.

0 ( +1 / -1 )

And we’re not even at the steep part of the curve yet. Nice work, Shinzo.

You only had 3 month’s warning. What? China, S. Korea, Italy, The USA weren’t enough of a warning for you?

Btw, still waiting on my 2 masks.

This is what incompetence looks like.

0 ( +1 / -1 )

Japan needs to get serious about this virus and quick! No more pretending it’s not happening. Go home and stay in the house. Exercise social distancing- not because some one tells you to but because it’s the right thing to do. This is a global pandemic, not just a national outbreak.

Akie- there is a good collection of world leaders who need to resign after observing how this pandemic is being handled, Abe, Trump, and Duterte included. I’m appalled by the bizarre decision making and inaction they exhibit.

The world is quite unprepared for this, not just logistically, but in terms of leadership. Demand more from our governments.

0 ( +1 / -1 )

Zichi

Dear Zichi

Thank you for sharing you story about your cancer experience. I'm happy to learn you have recovered. I am very curious about your comment about receiving dental treatment in a hospital vs. a private clinic. I'd like to learn more about this. Are there resources of information you can suggest. Thank you

1 ( +1 / -0 )

thywillbedone

Dear Zichi

Thank you for sharing you story about your cancer experience. I'm happy to learn you have recovered. I am very curious about your comment about receiving dental treatment in a hospital vs. a private clinic. I'd like to learn more about this. Are there resources of information you can suggest. Thank you

All major hospitals have dental depts. You can attend just like visiting for other medical reasons. They might ask you why you want to attend the hospital instead of a dental practice. I tell them I am more comfortable with the hospital. The people working for the dental dept are just like other hospital workers and not in private practice.

I found a very good female dental professor. Young but very good. She was moved to four new hospitals so I just followed her to the new one. In the end I needed a full set of dentures which she made for me and are so great I have been wearing them for 10 years. Can even eat an apple. So I require no further visits. She moved out to Kyoto after that.

I guess you just check the hospitals in your area and if you don't like one change to another.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

All the doctors I know work a six day week even before the pandemic.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Not ideal, however, one good move by the Tokyo governor is setting up the hotel system for less severe cases. With homes in Japan homes' like rabbit hutches there is no way for anyone to really self-quarantine without infecting the other family members.

This is one solution for an absolute complete isolation and getting rid of this virus so once more kudos to the Tokyo governor who is on tv each night facing her critics and the people she represents to give up the latest updates.

Abe, he is polar opposite of this lady who wants to give 2 free masks what kind of tuna fish has he been eating. Use the money to help the people, stretch the money instead of giving 300,000 thousand yen give 200,000 man for 3 months which cuts down using up precious time and money making another package.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

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