Japanese Hospital Provides Disaster Care
Most of the staff lost their homes and now live in shelters, yet they are working round the clock to keep patients alive. To combat subfreezing temperatures, the staff pours hot water into plastic juice bottles and tucks them around patients. The nurses hand feed patients cold meals by the light from windows. The six story hospital lost one wing and the ground floor in the earthquake and flooding. Patients have been clustered together, buried under mounds of blankets against the cold.
Overall, Japan has responded amazingly well to this enormous natural disaster. The area most affected was rural and was already suffering from a shortage of doctors and nurses. Japan is a wealthy, industrialized nation that prepares for emergencies like this, but the magnitude of the earthquake makes it almost impossible to be fully prepared.
The resilience of the Japanese medical teams is quite amazing and we are seeing some of the same selfless acts we saw in Haiti after the earthquake. Japanese doctors and nurses, like the Haitians, are putting their own needs aside and show their dedication to their patients. It is inspiring to watch.