After 25 hospitals turned a man down 36 times over a two-hour period, a 75-year-old man died even though his life could have been saved. The unidentified man died shortly after arriving at a hospital that was finally willing to take him. On March 5, 2013, the Japan Daily Press reported that city officials confirmed on Tuesday that “a 75 year old man died after his ambulance was turned away from 25 different hospitals 36 times over a two-hour period.”
And why would 25 hospitals turn away a man who is in desperate need of medical attention?
All 25 hospitals that turned the 75-year-old man down stated that they had no beds or doctors available and that they were unable to provide treatment.
The 75-year-old man who lived alone in Kuki, a small city north of Tokyo, called the paramedics when he began to have breathing problems one day in January. Paramedics rushed to the man’s home and got there quickly. However, when the ambulance drove to the 25 hospitals in the nearby area, all hospitals turned the old man down stating that there were not enough doctors or free beds.
In their attempt to save the man’s life, paramedics called some of the hospitals several times only to hear the same reason again for turning the man down; not enough doctors, no free beds.
“One of the paramedics from the incident spoke to Japan’s Jiji Press, saying that they had never had a patient turned away from a hospital so many times on one occasion.”
By the time paramedics finally arrived at the emergency room of the hospital that would have taken the old man, it was too late and he was pronounced dead just after his arrival.
The lack of doctors and free beds in Japan is largely due to a health care system that is not adequately prepared for a population that is increasingly consisting of elderly people and less younger people.
“Officials in Kuki have urged local hospitals to begin improving the capacity of their emergency rooms. But this situation could be repeated in the future, as Japan’s population becomes increasingly made up of elderly who are living longer, in combination with a declining birthrate, means there is an upside-down triangle formed, where the younger generations aren’t as able to take care of the older."
Even though the story of one man having been turned down by 25 hospitals appears to be the tragic story of just one man’s life, it is unfortunately the tragic story of a whole generation.
Will it become the tragic story of other countries?