When to Call a Medical Emergency
Medical appliances, fire appliances, and other medical equipment can cause more health problems than any other form of medical equipment, according to a new study.
Researchers analyzed data from a survey of nearly 1,000 patients who called for medical assistance after an earthquake and tsunami struck Japan in 2011.
The survey, which was conducted between March 12 and April 6, included a total of 1,025 patients who were injured in the events, according to the report.
More than half of the patients who experienced a medical emergency were in a medically underserved region of the country.
Of those surveyed, 70% were Japanese and 45% were residents of the northeastern prefecture of Iwate.
“The overwhelming majority of the people who were affected by the earthquake and subsequent tsunami were poor and underprivileged,” said study lead researcher Shigeyasu Ohtsuki, a postdoctoral fellow at the University of Tokyo.
Nearly 70% of the surveyed patients were elderly and 45.6% were under 50 years old.
There were many more poor and middle-class people affected, according the report, which was published by the American Association for the Advancement of Science.
In addition, the researchers found that the majority of patients were unable to access medical services due to financial and logistical problems.
Many patients were forced to stay home with relatives.
Even after being released from hospitals, the study authors found that some patients had trouble obtaining basic medical care because of financial difficulties and poor access to medical facilities.
People living in areas where there are no access to hospitals also had difficulty accessing basic services, such as dialysis, dentistry, and medical equipment.
Among the findings of the study are that the average hospital stay in Japan is longer for patients with serious health conditions, such a cardiac or respiratory issue, compared to patients in the rest of the world.
For example, the average length of stay in a Tokyo hospital for a heart attack patient is more than nine months compared to a heart condition such as a stroke, the report said.
Although some hospitals in Japan did provide some basic medical assistance to patients, it is limited, the authors said.
There was no clear link between the severity of an earthquake or tsunami and patients needing medical assistance.
While the researchers acknowledge that there were a few high-profile disasters in recent years, the impact of earthquakes and tsunamis on people’s health is still understudied, the scientists said.