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Emergency/disaster medical support in the restoration project for the Fukushima nuclear power plant accident
  1. Naoto Morimura1,2,
  2. Yasushi Asari1,
  3. Yoshihiro Yamaguchi1,2,
  4. Kazunari Asanuma2,
  5. Choichiro Tase1,2,
  6. Tetsuya Sakamoto1,2,
  7. Tohru Aruga1,2,
  8. Members of the Japanese Association for Acute Medicine, Emergency, Task Force on the Fukushima Nuclear Power Plant Accident (JAAM-TF-FNPPA)1
  1. 1Japanese Association for Acute Medicine, Emergency Task Force on the Fukushima Nuclear Power Plant Accident, Tokyo, Japan
  2. 2Medical Response Team of the Off-site Center of the Fukushima Nuclear Power Plant, The Ministry of Health, Labour, and Welfare of Japan, Tokyo, Japan
  1. Correspondence to Professor Naoto Morimura, Department of Emergency Medicine, Yokohama City University Graduate School of Medicine, Advanced Critical Care and Emergency Center, Yokohama City University Medical Center, 4-57 Urafunecho, Minami-ku, Yokohama 232–0024, Japan; molimula{at}yokohama-cu.ac.jp

Abstract

The Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Plant (1F) suffered a series of radiation accidents after the Great East Japan Earthquake on 11 March 2011. In a situation where halting or delaying restoration work was thought to translate directly into a very serious risk for the entire country, it was of the utmost importance to strengthen the emergency and disaster medical system in addition to radiation emergency medical care for staff at the frontlines working in an environment that posed a risk of radiation exposure and a large-scale secondary disaster. The Japanese Association for Acute Medicine (JAAM) launched the ‘Emergency Task Force on the Fukushima Nuclear Power Plant Accident’ and sent physicians to the local response headquarters. Thirty-four physicians were dispatched as disaster medical advisors, response guidelines in the event of multitudinous injury victims were created and revised and, along with execution of drills, coordination and advice was given on transport of patients. Forty-nine physicians acted as directing physicians, taking on the tasks of triage, initial treatment and decontamination. A total of 261 patients were attended to by the dispatched physicians. None of the eight patients with external contamination developed acute radiation syndrome. In an environment where the collaboration between organisations in the framework of a vertically bound government and multiple agencies and institutions was certainly not seamless, the participation of the JAAM as the medical academic organisation in the local system presented the opportunity to laterally integrate the physicians affiliated with the respective organisations from the perspective of specialisation.

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