A 75-year-old Japanese man from Kuki, Tokyo died after he was refused entry into 25 hospital emergency rooms 36 different times during a near three-hour time span. The hospitals claimed to lack both beds and doctors and denied the man care.
On January 6, the unidentified man, who lived alone, called for an ambulance after experiencing difficulty breathing and chest pains, according to Japan Daily Press.
Paramedics rushed him to 25 different hospitals, revisiting a few, but officials said they could not accept him, citing an inefficient number of manpower and bed shortages.
After nearly three hours, the ambulance finally took the man 20 minutes away to an Ibaraki prefecture hospital where he was officially declared dead shortly after arriving. The cause of his death was not disclosed.
From the time he alerted paramedics to the time he finally made it into a hospital took three hours. Had the man been suffering a heart attack or stroke, immediate medical care might have saved the man’s life. Instead, he made it into a hospital in time to be declared deceased.
One of the paramedics from the incident spoke to Japan’s Jiji Press, stating it is unheard-of to have a patient be turned away so many times for one incident.
Calls were made to hospitals by officials urging they try to improve their capacity and accommodation.
The death of the man magnifies problems surrounding both Japan’s aging population and issues of adequate medical care. This situation could easily be repeated in the future as Japan’s population becomes increasingly composed of elderly individuals who are living longer in combination with a declining birthrate.
This means over time there will be an inadequate lack of balance between the predominant elderly population and those in younger generations in terms of the social security system and by workforce.
Have you had a loved one turned away from a hospital and denied medical care? Do you think this might be a more common occurrence in the US in upcoming years with the overhaul in health care?
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