Safety

Understanding hospital emergency preparedness from Japan earthquake and tsunami, one year later

Hospital Safety Insider, March 29, 2012

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On March 19, the University of California, San Francisco (UCSF) departments of psychiatry and pediatrics and UCSF Global Health Sciences marked the anniversary of the disaster with a multidisciplinary symposium, “The Great East Japan Earthquake and Disasters: One Year Later,” featuring first-hand details from several who responded to the calamitous events.

The symposium discussed what is like for hospital in Japan just outside the evacuation zone. At the coastal Choushunkan Hospital, workers heard tsunami warnings and evacuated the first floor. Hiroshi Minura, MD, was directory of surgery at Matsumura General Hospital, whih lies in the then disaster-area town of Iwaki, barely outside the current zone evacuated. Minura said the evacuations at Choushunkan, where he was at the time of the earthquake and tsunami, were quick because they had used guidelines from a Chilean earthquake emergency manual.

In both hospitals, major medications were used up within a week, as many pharmacies had been evacuated. Local ambulance runs ceased because of a shortage of gas, and communication was challenging—most cell phones did not work, but other mobile devices running on a separate 3G network did.

The hospitals also faced reluctance from vendors transporting supplies to come to the hospital because of the close proximity to radiation.

Read more. (Source: UCSF website)



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