Saturday, May 14, 2011

More on the Worker's Death: It Took 2 Hours to Get to the Hospital

The man may have suffered a heart attack, but it sure looks he was practically killed by TEPCO and the Fukushima prefectural government.

This bit of information from Mainichi Shinbun (5/14/2011):

 原発からの救急搬送を巡り、県災害対策本部と消防、東電の3者は原発事故後、約20キロ南の拠点施設ナショナルトレーニングセンター「Jヴィレッ ジ」(楢葉町)で受け渡すよう取り決めている。このため同7時35分ごろ業務用車両に男性を乗せ原発を出発、8時10分ごろ着いたJヴィレッジで、常駐医 師が心臓マッサージなどをしたが回復せず、同35分ごろ救急車に乗せられた。

As to medical emergency transfer from the plant, the Fukushima prefectural government headquarters that deal with the plant accident, the Fukushima fire department, and TEPCO decided after the accident that the handover [of sick and injured people] must be done at "J-Village", 20 kilometers south of the plant. Accordingly, the man was put in a TEPCO's vehicle at 7:35AM, and arrived at "J-Village" at 8:10AM. There, the doctors did the CPR but couldn't resuscitate the man. He was then put on an ambulance at 8:35AM.

The ambulance arrived at a hospital in Iwaki City at 9:07AM, and the man was pronounced dead at 9:33AM.

And why the handover at "J-Village"? It's for the safety of emergency medical crew.

And I have this sinking feeling that the TEPCO's vehicle carrying the man observed the speed limit and all the traffic lights along the way, since it was not an emergency vehicle. (The police might have issued a ticket for traffic violation.) It took them 35 minutes to cover 20 kilometers, so they did less than 40 km/hour, or 25 miles/hour.

The ambulance didn't seem to do any better. It took 30 minutes to cover the distance between "J-Village" and the hospital. Depending on which hospital - no one is saying - in Iwaki City, but the distance between "J-Village" and Iwaki City is roughly 28 kilometers. So the speed was 56 km/hour, or 35 miles/hour.

In Japan, ambulances announce to the cars and trucks on the road, "We are turning, we are turning..." Very polite, and very reserved in speed. But I'm sure there was a medical reason for going slower than the speed limit.

Even with 56 km/hour though, if the ambulance had come to the plant and took the worker to the hospital directly to Iwaki City, it would have arrived at the hospital in less than an hour, instead of 2 hours, and with a medical treatment provided in the ambulance.

The Self Defense Force also has this thing called "helicopter", but I guess that is reserved for VIPs like Prime Minister Kan and Nuclear Safety Commission chief Madarame, and we have to be worried for the safety of the SDF helicopter pilot.


whomeco said...

Just in case, I post here if you haven't read this.

arevamirpal::laprimavera said...

@whomeco, thank you. The rolling blackout right after the Fukushima accident was also a ploy to impress people with the need for nuclear power, as NISA's Nishiyama made abundantly clear in March, when he said "Alternative to nuclear power? Blackout."

Anonymous said...

I think we should remember that the roads around the plant are in terrible shape, and that it might not be possible to drive much faster with buckled roads and debris blocking things (remember the video of the guys from the press who were trying to get close to the plant). I do think the man's death is tragic, but I can't fault Tepco or Fukushima for not having a fully staffed emergency room at the nuclear plant. They have to balance the radiation risk of everyone present to their other needs. If they have emergency staff at Fukushima, it means the staff are accumulating radiation as well, and radioation-trained medical teams are so precious right now I don't think they dare put them at risk. Unfortunately it means that any injured staff at Fukushima have a 2-hour drive to get treatment. Its a risk, but I don't think there is an easy answer.

netudiant said...

How much longer can the Japanese government sustain the fiction that this disaster is a TEPCO responsibility? If the government is prepared to help TEPCO provide compensation for the victims of this disaster, it must also make sure that TEPCO performs its duties in the clean up correctly.

Fukushima is a world scale catastrophe. Two months into it, we are only beginning to learn the dimensions of what is wrong and to recognize that we have made essentially no progress in the cleanup.
The cleanup will be a very long haul. That makes it imperative that the process be put on a solid footing, rather than depending on pick up crews of temporary subcontractor employees who have no recourse against abusive work conditions such as currently exist. Otherwise, it will soon be impossible to find enough people to do the work. Is that to Japan's advantage?

Anonymous said...

If TEPCO management had even a microscopic sliver of competence, they would have a doctor on-site to monitor the health of the workers.

Did you read this post at the Automatic Earth? What do you think about it?

another anonymous poster said...

or at least a helicopter to evacuate the 60 year old hod carrier out to where the doctors are waiting safe from the radiation.

TEPCO/J Govt. have gotten around to using helicopters to deal with this mess haven't they?

Given as how the roads are so screwed up as the above apologist Anonymous argued imploringly on behalf of TEPCO/J Govt.

Or have they not noticed that yet, either?

Anonymous said...

Yes, @Anonymous 6:52, this isn't the place to air an outlandish opinion like that. If you want to say something that differs from the majority here, you can start your own bloody blog.

Stupid Tepco shill...

Anonymous said...

Robbie001 sez:

Here's the unpublicized reson why it took so long to get to the hospital.

Post a Comment