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Impact of Natural Disaster Combined with Nuclear Power Plant Accidents on Local Medical Services: a Case Study of Minamisoma Municipal General Hospital after the Great East Japan Earthquake

  • Yuko Kodama (a1), Tomoyoshi Oikawa (a2), Kaoru Hayashi (a3), Michiko Takano (a3), Mayumi Nagano (a3), Katsuko Onoda (a3) (a4), Toshiharu Yoshida (a3), Akemi Takada (a3), Tatsuo Hanai (a5), Shunji Shimada (a6), Satoko Shimada (a5), Yasuyuki Nishiuchi (a7), Syuichi Onoda (a4), Kazuo Monma (a8), Masaharu Tsubokura (a1), Tomoko Matsumura (a1), Masahiro Kami (a1) and Yukio Kanazawa (a9)...

Abstract

Objective

To elucidate the impacts of nuclear plant accidents on neighboring medical centers, we investigated the operations of our hospital within the first 10 days of the Great East Japan Earthquake followed by the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant accident.

Methods

Data were extracted from medical records and hospital administrative records covering 11 to 20 March 2011. Factual information on the disaster was obtained from public access media.

Results

A total of 622 outpatients and 241 inpatients were treated. Outpatients included 43 injured, 6 with cardiopulmonary arrest, and 573 with chronic diseases. Among the 241 inpatients, 5 died, 137 were discharged, and the other 99 were transferred to other hospitals. No communication methods or medical or food supplies were available for 4 days after the earthquake. Hospital directors allowed employees to leave the hospital on day 4. All 39 temporary workers were evacuated immediately, and 71 of 239 full-time employees remained. These employees handled extra tasks besides patient care and patient transfer to other hospitals. Committed effective doses indicating the magnitude of health risks due to an intake of radioactive cesium into the human body were found to be minimal according to internal radiation exposure screening carried out from July to August 2011.

Conclusions

After the disaster, hospitals located within the evacuation zone of a 30-km radius of the nuclear power plant were isolated. Maintenance of the health care system in such an event becomes difficult. (Disaster Med Public Health Preparedness. 2014;8:471-476)

Copyright

Corresponding author

Correspondence and reprint requests to Yuko Kodama, RN, Institute of Medical Science, The University of Tokyo, 4-6-1, Shirokanedai, Minato-ku, Tokyo 108-8639, Japan (e-mail: alice-smn@umin.net).

References

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Keywords

Impact of Natural Disaster Combined with Nuclear Power Plant Accidents on Local Medical Services: a Case Study of Minamisoma Municipal General Hospital after the Great East Japan Earthquake

  • Yuko Kodama (a1), Tomoyoshi Oikawa (a2), Kaoru Hayashi (a3), Michiko Takano (a3), Mayumi Nagano (a3), Katsuko Onoda (a3) (a4), Toshiharu Yoshida (a3), Akemi Takada (a3), Tatsuo Hanai (a5), Shunji Shimada (a6), Satoko Shimada (a5), Yasuyuki Nishiuchi (a7), Syuichi Onoda (a4), Kazuo Monma (a8), Masaharu Tsubokura (a1), Tomoko Matsumura (a1), Masahiro Kami (a1) and Yukio Kanazawa (a9)...

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