FUKUSHIMA Lives on the Line

1881Department of Emergency and Critical Care Medicine, Fukushima Medical University School of Medicine, 1-Hikarigaoka, Fukushima, 960-1295, Japan2Takashi Nagai Memorial International Hibakusha Medical Center, Nagasaki University Hospital, 1-7-1 Sakamoto, Nagasaki 852-8501, Japan.1. IntroductionThe Fukushima nuclear power plant accident on March 11, 2011 followed the magnitude 9 great earthquake and the up to 38.9 meters tsunami, and resulted in the massive release into the atmosphere of radionuclides, put at Level 7 in International Nuclear Event Scale (INES). The deposition of artificial radionuclides in a particular area occurred due to the rain and snow mainly on March 15 and it has dramatically changed our conventional safe life in Fukushima from the beginning with unpredictable fear and anxiety [1,2]. Reviewing our experience, we are trying to understand what we should have done, what we have learned, and what we should do from now on.2. Results and DiscussionFukushima Medical University Hospital is located 56 km north east from Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant. We have an Emergency and Critical Care Center with a Level 1 trauma center; also, we have an emergency medical helicopter system.Fortunately, we did not suffer a building collapse, but did lose both our water and petrol supply. In the initial phase of the disaster, we did our best to examine the patients of trauma and submersion due to the tsunami and earthquake. Because of the lack of water we could not perform enough medical procedures including major operations and renal replacement therapy. The combined disaster taxed us to the limits.To our regret, we had not had enough engagement in Radiation Emergency Medicine (REM) nor had we had any communication with the nuclear power plant Company previous to that. Therefore, leading up to the nuclear power plant accident, we ER physicians did not have enough preparation for a nuclear accident, nor had enough information for the plant accident. Also, the only information we could get was from television reports, not from the disaster site or the government. At first immediately after the accident, we had to resort to making our way by looking at a textbook as we examined a contaminated patient. At first, the situation overwhelmed us, and our mood became dark and depressed, like a patient who has been told they have cancer for the first time. However, soon, Radiological Summary. Fukushima Medical University Hospital has unexpectedly experienced the most difficult situation during the Fukushima Nuclear Disaster just after the combined disaster of the biggest earthquake and tsunami in Japan. Through our own activities at the unit of radiation emergency medicine, we have learnt that there is much room for improvement. However, even under such unpredicted conditions, we also gained a valuable experience thanks to our wonderful colleagues who were dispatched to our area from all over Japan. We have the responsibility to provide the radiation emergency medical service, the physical-mental-radiological health care, and risk communication with considerable information, to plant workers, emergency responders, and residents in Fukushima in turn.Key words : Fukushima NPP accident; combined disaster; radiation emergency medicine; risk communicationA New Challenge of Radiation Health Risk Management [Nakashima M, Takamura N, Suzuki K, Yamashita S Editors]Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Plant Accident and Emergency Medical Response at Fukushima Medical University HospitalArifumi Hasegawa1, Makoto Miyazaki1, Choichiro Tase1,Atsushi Kumagai2, Akira Ohtsuru2