The Olympic rings are illuminated in front of the National Stadium in Tokyo. Photo: REUTERS/file
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Tokyo Olympics face another headache - not enough medical staff

41 Comments
By Sakura Murakami

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But persistent clusters of infections in Japan have raised questions about the feasibility of holding the Games this year and eroded support for the extravaganza among a public nervous about athletes and spectators bringing in new cases.

So 2021 Olympic, is it feasible?

12 ( +12 / -0 )

It’s a sports competition not a medical convention

-21 ( +3 / -24 )

Doctors can be also hesitant to support with volunteer work something that is being used as a reason to limit resources for the fight against the pandemic. The same as sponsors not promoting their participation because the population is against the games, doctors would not volunteer while their colleagues are against the event because of the increased risk of worsening the pandemic.

23 ( +26 / -3 )

It’s time for the IOC to come to grips with the reality and cancel the Games.

25 ( +27 / -2 )

If the Olympics are held or not, Suga will not be PM by the end of the year.

18 ( +19 / -1 )

Again, would we be in a rush to send all the firefighters to a party if the city was burning down?

Medical staff are clearly required in medical institutions right now and for the foreseeable future.

26 ( +26 / -0 )

The Japanese gov has shown ZERO leadership and responsibility from day 1 of this pandemic. Do the right thing and cancel the damn games.

20 ( +22 / -2 )

Well isn't this the obvious response?

14 ( +14 / -0 )

"volunteers"?! Japanese companies have given the biggest corporate sponsorship funding in Olympic history. Use this money to pay these people, and less on furry anime mascots.

22 ( +22 / -0 )

Japan has fared better than some other countries in the struggle against the virus. It has had 390,000 cases and 5,794 deaths."

Can JT please stop reprinting this govt propaganda line..it has also done worse than some other countries...ie all its Asian neigbors...everyone knows the number is due to the testing done at 10% of any other "advanced country"

23 ( +24 / -1 )

Looking for volunteers when over 80% of Japanese people think the games should be cancelled entirely. Someone's gonna be disappointed these frugal individuals don't show up.

19 ( +19 / -0 )

Organizers have suggested that volunteer doctors could be paid for their work, according to a lawmaker who attended a Tuesday meeting" Mori and the rest of JOC must be tone deaf....the problem is there is not enough doctors and nurses due to the system being overrun , not that the medical staff wants money instead of volunteering.

15 ( +15 / -0 )

A certain man of prominence once said, "You go to war with the army you have, not the army you might want or wish to have at a later time." Look how that turned out. Seems LDP and JOC are hell bent on doing the same despite all the warning lights flashing.

11 ( +11 / -0 )

Most of the population do not agree or are suspicious about opening the Olympics while organizers are sticking to it. The reason is money - economy. Do not repeat the mistake of Go-To campaigns which spread the pandemic.

16 ( +16 / -0 )

This should be one of the BIGGEST nails in the games coffin!!

Japans health care has been under stress in a lot of ways......WAY before covid, I have been reading stories about taxi\ambulances that ferry patients to as many as 10+ hospitals before finding a bed!!

And just recently I saw on TV about 2 people with heart attacks DIEING in vehicles while being turned away.....

Can you imagine the deaths caused by these games syphoning medical staff this summer only for said staff to return to a country likely much worse medically because of these games!!

Utter non-sense!

"No matter how I look at it, it's impossible," said Satoru Arai, whose association was asked by both the Tokyo Olympic Organizing Committee and the Tokyo metropolitan government last March to secure more than 3,500 medical staff for the event.

THREE CHEERS for Arai san for telling it like it IS!!!

Expect the IOC now to push Japan to allow not just team doctors to come but mini hospital staff for each team!!!

15 ( +15 / -0 )

Just cancel the darn thing, nobody wants it. I thought the Tokyo Olympics were a bad idea in 2013 and that the money would have been better spent rebuilding Tohoku. And now with the pandemic, what could all of that money done to help? Truly a waste.

17 ( +18 / -1 )

It’s a sports competition not a medical convention

Yeah. I mean why would they need any medical staff for a sports event let alone one involving thousands of athletes competing during Japanese summer and a pandemic. The mind boggles eh.

14 ( +14 / -0 )

I'm pretty sure most Olympic teams have their own doctors. I know most teams typically bring their own trainers, chiropractors, and physiotherapists too. Why does Tokyo need all these medical staffs? I doubt most of these athletes want some doctor treating them that can't communicate with them in the first place. Why not just ask each country to bring an extra doctor or two just in case? I'm sure that would be enough.

If they are needing extra medical staff for all the fans and spectators, maybe they should ask all the school nurses around Japan that will be on holidays during this time.

6 ( +8 / -2 )

@Gaijinland

Just cancel the darn thing, nobody wants it. I thought the Tokyo Olympics were a bad idea in 2013 and that the money would have been better spent rebuilding Tohoku. And now with the pandemic, what could all of that money done to help? Truly a waste.

My thoughts exactly.

10 ( +10 / -0 )

Why not just ask each country to bring an extra doctor or two just in case? I'm sure that would be enough.

Mostly because they would also need to bring their own hospitals and related facilities. Bringing a doctor to treat an emergency on site is completely rational, expecting him (or a team) to complete a treatment that may require live-saving interventions, surgeries or a stay in the ICU without being able to communicate effectively with the local staff or even knowing what are the resources available (and where they are) is not.

10 ( +13 / -3 )

The top news article on the Yahoo Japan site last night was about existing (regular) volunteers quitting due to Mori's comments.

Apparently the phones were ringing off the hook with complaints.

11 ( +11 / -0 )

President Biden is talking about strengthening relationships with America's allies. How about the US sending its 2 hospital ships to Tokyo during the Olympics as a sign of support. The ships can even take part in the RIMPAC exercises before they arrive.

3 ( +5 / -2 )

Mostly because they would also need to bring their own hospitals and related facilities. Bringing a doctor to treat an emergency on site is completely rational, expecting him (or a team) to complete a treatment that may require live-saving interventions, surgeries or a stay in the ICU without being able to communicate effectively with the local staff or even knowing what are the resources available (and where they are) is not.

@virusrex How many emergencies do you think they are expecting at the Olympics, specifically related to the athletes? Probably less than ten. Most would be treated on site by team doctors. Stitches, sprained ankles, torn ligaments, tendons mostly. The odd athlete might need an MRI, but thats not going to require hundreds of doctors or nurses. I just don't see the need.

-4 ( +0 / -4 )

@virusrex How many emergencies do you think they are expecting at the Olympics, specifically related to the athletes? Probably less than ten.

How did you get to the "probably" conclusion, on what evidence? If that is the case then why bring doctors in the first place? having one doctor on the whole venue would do the job without problems. It is not like all 10 emergencies would happen at the same time, right?

In reality emergencies are quite common and many could have serious consequences if not treated quickly.

https://bjsm.bmj.com/content/47/17/e4.1

That is the thing with medical services (and insurance, security, etc.) They are completely unnecessary most of the time, except when they are irreemplazable. Any event with thousands of participants may go without anything happening at all during the whole time, or have dozens or even hundreds of emergencies going on with any of them during that time, especially if they are going to be performing extreme physical feats and dangerous activities, betting on having not much problems so you would need just a few doctors available on call (or opening limited schedules and spaces in hospitals) its irresponsible and a recipe for disaster. Any event organized professionally is required to guarantee the guests will be treated with the best available medical services, that requires having a lot of personnel and resources available just in case.

0 ( +4 / -4 )

I'm thinking no participants would be the next hurdle? Along with not enough restaurants to keep the potential audience from being hungry since they effectively culled the industry with their half-assed rules.

4 ( +4 / -0 )

again.

wondering how long will take for this actionless government and related MSM to understand that:

-there will be no olympics in Tokyo this year

it seems that this propaganda is completely out of touch with reality for a very long time.

7 ( +7 / -0 )

The caption:

Japanese doctors and nurses fighting the coronavirus will not have the time to volunteer to help at the Olympics, a medical association has said

is all that needs to be said....what else needs to happen for the games to be cancelled?

2 ( +2 / -0 )

So no more audience, if it pushes thru at all

1 ( +1 / -0 )

In reality emergencies are quite common

https://bjsm.bmj.com/content/47/17/e4.1

@ Virusrex

The article does not mention "emergencies " once. It specifically relates to sports injuries, especially involving the knee. You don't need hundreds of doctors and nurses on site to be ready to handle a few knee injuries. Nothing life threatening about those. Most athletes with series ligament tears would likely travel back to their home country anyways to be treated or for surgery, unless they could get better care in Japan (but thats a different issue). Worst case scenario is that you have a serious head or spinal injury and I'm pretty sure the hospitals can handle a few of those during the entire games. I think this is an example of overkill. It sounds like they want 1 Japanese doctor per athlete per event "just in case" every athlete suddely falls ill with Covid-19 and needs a ventilator on site! What an embarrassment it would be if Japan didn't have enough medical staff for that! Might as well cancel the games.

-1 ( +2 / -3 )

Imagine going to your local clinic to renew a prescription only to find a note tacked to the door stating sorry, closed for two weeks as I am volunteering at the Olympics, because the Olympic participants forgot to bring their sports doctor with them?

2 ( +4 / -2 )

President Biden is talking about strengthening relationships with America's allies. How about the US sending its 2 hospital ships to Tokyo during the Olympics as a sign of support. The ships can even take part in the RIMPAC exercises before they arrive.

Erm... Diamond Princess? USS Theodore Roosevelt?

The point is, the priority should be unavoidable Covid infections already happening here, not deliberately importing extra risks, never mind diverting essential health workers and exposing them to unnecessary danger for a vanity/ pocket lining project, when health workers have already been busting their guts and risking their lives for months trying to care for all of us. Being pressured to volunteer in this situation would be final insult, but even so, the medical spokesperson spelt it out " It's not about the money".

5 ( +5 / -0 )

The article does not mention "emergencies " once. It specifically relates to sports injuries, especially involving the knee. You don't need hundreds of doctors and nurses on site to be ready to handle a few knee injuries.

Sports injuries as in the vast majority emergencies, they are not something that can wait for attention a few days or weeks and quoting from the article "*In the 2008 Summer Olympics, 1055 injuries were reported from 9572 athletes, highest proportions in football and commonest location the knee*." Those are not "a few", and not being life-threatening does not make them not emergencies, nor something that can be left unchecked or untreated, we are not talking about office workers that may not care if their knees don't recover properly.

And again, hospitals can treat "a few" emergencies without problem, but it is irresponsible to bet than only "a few" non life-threatening emergencies is all that will happen. Injuries are very common, and can threat the life and capacity of the athletes if not diagnosed and maybe treated opportunely

https://www.iasm.com/blog/the-most-common-injuries-at-the-olympics

https://pubs.rsna.org/doi/full/10.1148/radiol.2018171510

Quoting again "The overall occurrence of imaging used to help diagnose sports-related injuries at the Rio de Janeiro 2016 Summer Olympics was 6.4% of athletes. In these cases, MR imaging comprised 60% of imaging utilization." those are not "a few" MRIs. And injuries are not the only thing that merit medical attention, people can get food poisoning, infections, previously undiscovered medical conditions, etc. etc. Those are also things that have to be kept in mind.

I think this is an example of overkill. It sounds like they want 1 Japanese doctor per athlete per event "just in case" every athlete suddely falls ill with Covid-19 and needs a ventilator on site! What an embarrassment it would be if Japan didn't have enough medical staff for that! Might as well cancel the games.

For this kind of things, that are unpredictable, you can overestimate or underestimate the need, the only safe option is to run the risk of overestimate it, because the other option is unacceptable. Read the article, do the health professionals consulted suggest that there is no need for large number of health professionals to be available? no, their whole point is that there is not enough for the event, not that less would be fine. Not even the organizers suggested doing it with less people. I would think that both groups of people know more about what is necessary than a random person on the internet that may not have experience organizing an international sports event.

And if talking about embarrassments for these games the lack of medical staff is just the latest of many, from sexist remarks to public opposition, bribery scandals, etc. Any of those reasons is enough to justify a cancellation, even without a pandemic running wild and a current complete lack of vaccinations on the host country.

1 ( +5 / -4 )

One more problem to add to a loooong list of problems....

4 ( +4 / -0 )

To be asked to volunteer, what an oxymoron.

Many people struggling to make ends meet and some other would volunteer freely.

One can understand the money does not flow at all to where it should go.

4 ( +4 / -0 )

This just gets worse and worse. We should just have a virtual Olympics using Zoom.

3 ( +3 / -0 )

Thanx mod.

a doctor friend has had to cancel 12 operations in her clinic because one operation nurse is positive. 6 patients and 8 staff are positive.

Just one nurse.

2 ( +2 / -0 )

Goodlucktoyou

Thanx mod. 

a doctor friend has had to cancel 12 operations in her clinic because one operation nurse is positive. 6 patients and 8 staff are positive. 

Just one nurse.

so how does that figure with your posts that the Covid-19 is only a problem for us old people

2 ( +2 / -0 )

How many emergencies do you think they are expecting at the Olympics, specifically related to the athletes? Probably less than ten. Most would be treated on site by team doctors. Stitches, sprained ankles, torn ligaments, tendons mostly. The odd athlete might need an MRI, but thats not going to require hundreds of doctors or nurses. I just don't see the need.

How many athletes suffered heat stroke in the rehearsal events? People die from this.

3 ( +3 / -0 )

"We got worried and reached out to the Olympic organizing committee at the end of last year, asking what the plan was," Arai said. "But we still haven't heard anything."

does this surprise anyone?

1 ( +1 / -0 )

Tokyo Olympics face another headache - not enough medical staff

Sounds like Japan needs thousands of foriegn foriegn medical workers to come to Japan during the Olympics to "help" Japan cope. I wonder what their visa status will be?

1 ( +1 / -0 )

So so stupid.... this whole affaire is going to lead to more infections in Japan, innoculated individuals still can carry the virus, but here in Japan, we will simply get it, as we are not innoculated... thus there will inevitably be an increase in xenophobia and perhaps worse against even the longer term Foreign residents. It could all end up very messy here. And for what ?

0 ( +0 / -0 )

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