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Woman in her 80s dies en route to hospital after ambulance takes wrong route

21 Comments

The Yokohama City Fire Department revealed on Monday that a Hodogaya Fire Department ambulance mistakenly took the wrong route while transporting an ill woman in her 80s and arrived at the hospital too late to save the woman. 

The woman was pronounced dead upon arriving at the hospital, Kyodo News reported. However, it is unclear whether the delayed arrival had an impact on the woman’s death.

According to the fire department, an emergency call was placed from a welfare facility in Yokohama’s Totsuka Ward at 8 a.m. Monday, reporting that the woman had suddenly become seriously ill. The woman went into cardiac arrest inside the ambulance while on the way to the hospital. Although paramedics administered emergency medical treatment, the patient died upon arrival.

Officials said the ambulance driver took a wrong turn at a road junction, causing a 13-minute delay getting to the hospital. The route from the welfare facility usually takes only three minutes. The driver had been assigned to the fire department in April and was still unfamiliar with the roads, the fire department said.

Tsukasa Moriya, chief of the Yokohama City Fire Department, released a public apology stating, “We offer our sincerest apologies to the family. We will take every possible measure to prevent a recurrence in the future.”

© Japan Today

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21 Comments
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The only vehicles on the road entitled to run red lights don't do so. Surprised this doesn't get reported more often.

6 ( +15 / -9 )

Heck... they could've taken the shortest route and she still may've died, considering how fast these Ambulances travel. I swear... if someone in my family needs immediate care I will drive them to the Emergency Room myself rather than rely on a Japanese Ambulance to do it quickly.

12 ( +16 / -4 )

The driver had been assigned to the fire department in April and was still unfamiliar with the roads

Why, why, why was a fresh new employee unfamiliar with the roads given the responsibility of driving at a most critical time?

I feel so sorry for this woman’s family.

9 ( +11 / -2 )

Ambulances take too long from the time arriving at a scene to the time of leaving. I have seen them taking more than 30 minutes. Surprised more patients don't die.

8 ( +11 / -3 )

Human error is a part of life. Here in NZ this week, we heard of a teenager who died because she was having an asthma attack, and the ambulance was delayed because her call was accidentally put on the lower priority list.

5 ( +5 / -0 )

Ambulances take too long from the time arriving at a scene to the time of leaving. I have seen them taking more than 30 minutes. Surprised more patients don't die.

True. I'm wondering how long they took to leave in this case? The wrong turn probably wasn't the deciding factor.

7 ( +8 / -1 )

Paramedics are only allowed to administer crystalloids to patients in shock, glucose to patients with hypoglycemia, and epinephrine to patients with cardiac arrest; in addition, they are permitted to intubate patients with cardiac arrest.

Some ambulances have a doctor on board.

5 ( +6 / -1 )

Happened to me some years ago. I was in and out of consciousness. Only two minutes to my hospital but the ambulance driver refused to take me there, and the wife got into an argument with him. Finally he agreed, but then got lost on the way, taking about 15 minutes, dropping a wheel at one point because he took an extra narrow road that everyone around here avoids. Oh, yes, luckily I made it, but it was a real emergency.

5 ( +7 / -2 )

Not surprised.........

I once called an ambulance because some random person fell down at the station, and he needed help.

OF COURSE all of the Japanese people just walked by and did nothing.

So I, the person with the worst Japanese language skills in the entire station had to call an ambulance. No one else was gonna do it.

Anyway, the person I was talking to on the phone asked me where the person was. I said on the 2nd floor, next to the combini.

There was/is only ONE combini on the second floor of the entire station.

The dispatch kept saying "they can't find it. which combini!?!?" I kept yelling, THE ONLY combini on the second floor.

Eventually the Benny Hill gang got to the person and took him. IDK if it led to him being more sick or not. I left as soon as they came.

They wanted to question me.........nope, I got places to go. Ask any of the other 100 useless people around, that saw what I saw.

-1 ( +6 / -7 )

Wouldn't using Google Maps solve the problem?

3 ( +3 / -0 )

"The route from the welfare facility usually takes only three minutes."

Yeah... sorry, but to say the delay didn't contribute to her death is ludicrous given that she went into cardiac arrest during the journey. Let's say she had gone into cardiac arrest even one minute into what was normally a three-minute ride in a non-emergency... she could have been resuscitated at the hospital thereafter, unless of course the staff there were as inept as the ambulance drivers. Add ten minutes or more to that, not so much. An apology and promise not to do it again are not enough, the family should sue the hospital for all its worth (they'd never get it, though).

-5 ( +2 / -7 )

@Mike_Oxlong That would be a good question to ask Yrall he is good with Googling!

Wouldn't using Google Maps solve the problem?

2 ( +2 / -0 )

The only vehicles on the road entitled to run red lights don't do so. Surprised this doesn't get reported more often.

What are you on about?? They certainly do - well, maybe not "run" red lights, but at least "walk" them.

-1 ( +2 / -3 )

When it's time to go, it is time to go. Have she arrived 13 minutes before, she could have died just the same.

2 ( +2 / -0 )

Wouldn't using Google Maps solve the problem?

It is not a good idea. Google maps doesn't take into consideration how big your car is and roads in Japan are often narrow.

Better to use the Navi in the vehicle, and Google Maps as a secondary option if really needed.

2 ( +2 / -0 )

It’s better to take taxi in Japan. Ambulances are extremely inefficient. When you call them, they ask you too many questions and some of them are not necessary for the situation. When they are coming to pick up patients, they don’t call hospitals and make arrangements for where to go. They spend over 30 minutes waiting with patients to find hospital.

They really need to be trained, perhaps a random person on the street knows what should be done much better than those so called professionals. So any person on the street can give some training to the professional paramedics in japan.

0 ( +2 / -2 )

Be honest guys! I have lived in Kenya, UK, Germany, India, Hong Kong and now in Japan which from my past experience, has an outstanding emergency service including an Ambulance which comes amazingly quick.

-1 ( +1 / -2 )

wallaceMay 14  06:29 pm JST

Ambulances take too long from the time arriving at a scene to the time of leaving. I have seen them taking more than 30 minutes. Surprised more patients don't die.

One of my relatives had to suffer longer than she should because in her Kentucky town, medics can't enter a home until somebody inside lets them. Ridiculous.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

It's not Japans ambulance fault the patient have to wait, the fault lies to the hospitals they contact that refuse to accept the ailing patient.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

There should be a law mandating that hospitals with emergency rooms must accept ambulance patients. Some hospitals may refuse to take patients who are likely to die because it may negatively impact their statistics.

Ambulances don't move until they have the personal details of the patient.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

The fire station is at fault. They should haver never had him driving if he didn't know the routes. In my home country an ambulance driver doesn't have to be a paramedic or EMT. They can be, though. But before you go out on a real call you have to take numerous route tests before you can go out for real. Tests are held at various times such as early morning, rush hour, the middle of the night. Sometimes the test evaluator will suddenly say this route is blocked. Find a different way to the hospital. It's all timed.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

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