FUKUSHIMA Lives on the Line

chap.IVPatient Relief Activity Records [Essays and Research Publications]FUKUSHIMA: Lives on the Line195March 13, 2011Our hospital is receiving patients from outside the prefecture, for which reason one helipad isn’t enough, and the students’ soccer field is now a base for four more “Doctor Heli” air ambulance teams, and Self-Defense Force helicopters.Fukushima City is not close to the eponymous nuclear power plant, and we are inland from Sendai. No tsunami here, but no running water, either. Electricity OK and I could queue to fill some jugs from a water truck that came to the neighborhood. That took more than an hour, but this is Japan, and people passed the time in friendly, quiet conversation. The medical center itself normally uses around 150 tons of water per day. Reserves fell below 500 tons over the weekend. A water rationing protocol started; laboratory procedures are being modified as much as possible, and employees have been asked to use chemical toilets in the parking lot instead of our usual indoor plumbing.Experience here in Fukushima and reports from Amateur Radio operators around Japan confirm that cell phone voice and messaging services are unreliable or completely inoperable during a disaster – even in a country that is accustomed to earthquakes and has world-class voice and data service.On a bright note, people continue to exercise the CBBS TodayJOURNAL OF THE CALIFORNIA BLOOD BANK SOCIETYWords to the WorldThe California Blood Bank Society supported Fukushima Medical University by posting official announcements, photographs, and narratives on the website of CBBS Today – Journal of the California Blood Bank Society. CBBS Today editor Ms. Eileen Selogie opened the project with these words:“In the wake of Japan’s unprecedented earthquake, tsunami, and nuclear crisis, governments around the world urged their citizens to leave. Kenneth Nollet, a transfusion medicine specialist at Fukushima Medical University, decided to stay. Just 57 kilometers from a crippled nuclear power plant, and adjacent to the tsunami disaster area, Dr. Nollet is sharing news, photographs, and personal observations through the CBBS Today website.”The web pages devoted to Japan became the most visited of any managed by CBBS. The original content has now been incorporated into formal journal articles that combine historical authenticity with new information and analysis. Here, we have reproduced an abbreviated selection of the original material. All the articles, photographs, and official announcements from FMU are available at www.cbbstoday.org/specialeditions through the continued courtesy of CBBS, the CBBS board, and Ms. Eileen Selogie.Kenneth E. NolletDepartment of Blood Transfusion and Transplantation Immunology, Fukushima Medical University, Fukushima, Japan