Japanese doctors have issued the dire warning that the healthcare system in the island nation could face collapse under the continued strain of the coronavirus. Japan has 10,000 confirmed cases of the disease, with a new wave threatening even more.
One doctor detailed how an ill patient was turned away from 80 full hospitals before finally being admitted. Another man was slightly luckier -- visiting 40 before finally gaining access to paramedics.
It is not just doctors who are raising the alarm about the looming crisis. The Japanese Association for Acute Medicine and the Japanese Society for Emergency Medicine have both described cases where emergency rooms were so burdened with COVID-19 patients that they were forced to turn away unwell individuals suffering from maladies such as stroke, heart attack, and external injuries.
Takeshi Shimazu, an emergency doctor at Osaka University brutally summed up the state of the crisis.
"We can no longer carry out normal emergency medicine."
Medical experts have already expressed their fears that Japan has a shortage of protective equipment, such as gowns and face masks. Yoshitake Yokokura, who heads the Japan Medical Association, has cautioned that this could raise the risk of health workers getting sick -- stretching the number of available doctors and nurses even thinner than at present.
Other analysts have pointed out that Japan has far fewer intensive care units per population than other industrialized nations. While the United States has 35 ICUs per 100,000 people and Germany has around 30, Japan lags behind at only five.
Osamu Nishida, the head of the Japanese Society of Intensive Care Medicine, claimed that he believed Italy, which has 10 ICUs per 100,000 people, is experiencing a substantially higher mortality rate than neighbor Germany because of the discrepancy in ICU numbers. Italy's mortality rate is 10 percent, whereas Germany's is one.
"Japan, with ICUs not even half of Italy's, is expected to face a (spike in fatalities) very quickly," he said.
A government task force came to a similar conclusion, claiming that a worst-case scenario could kill as many as 400,000 citizens due to the lack of intensive care equipment.
That said, Japan is far from the only nation facing supply shortages, and many countries around the globe are also dealing with overwhelmed healthcare systems.
In the United States, doctors are warning that the next looming crisis will be due to the need for more kidney dialysis machines in hospitals.
Health experts have stated that there has been an alarming spike in COVID-19 patients suffering from kidney failure. In fact, the demand for dialysis machines has risen so dramatically that suppliers have been forced to issue limits on the number of units that can be ordered by hospitals, as was reported earlier by The Inquisitr.