FUKUSHIMA Lives on the Line

243chap.IVPatient Relief Activity Records [Essays and Research Publications]FUKUSHIMA: Lives on the LinePublished in “Tiara,” a Nursing Care Information Magazine (Special Issue)December 2011 (Nipro Corporation)The University Hospital Closest to the Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power PlantNagasaki University’s Radiation Emergency Medical Assistance Team Rushes to Fukushima Immediately after the Accident “Our biggest challenge was dealing with the delays in food and medical supplies, which were due to vicious rumors surrounding Fukushima at the time. However, even under such circumstances, Nagasaki University’s Radiation Emergency Medical Team rushed into Fukushima to bravely work and provide medical assistance. This is the first thing I want everyone to know.” Yumiko Nakajima, vice president and director of nursing at FMU Hospital, began our interview with this statement.The impact of the earthquake on FMU Hospital was not very significant; there was little damage to its buildings. The hospital generally stockpiled food for patients in case of an emergency; however, the staff quickly realized that there was a serious shortage of food, especially for them. Student volunteers were kind enough to make some rice balls by mixing food they had brought from home; yet, they managed to provide each staff member with only two rice balls a day. Even after March 11, transportation routes were not entirely open, and it took about three or four day for food to be delivered to Fukushima. This was also caused by the harmful rumors that circulated about Fukushima, delaying the supply of goods into the prefecture. Meanwhile, on March 13, Nagasaki University dispatched its Radiation Emergency Medical Assistance Team to Fukushima on the request of the Ministry of Education, Culture, Sports, Science and Technology. Nagasaki University has an impressive record in radiation exposure treatment and has experience in this field due to medical research and treatment of the 1986 Chernobyl accident victims. This medical specialist team comprised five members: one medical doctor, two nurses, one radiation technologist, and a professor in the field of radiation biology and radiation protection. The two nurses are both second-year master’s students of the certified nurse specialist program in radiotherapy, which is offered only by Nagasaki University; both students are experienced medical practitioners.The medical team collected information from the The Struggle of a Hub Hospital in Treating the Victims of Radiation ExposureYumiko Nakajima, Vice president and Director of Nursing, Fukushima Medical University HospitalNoriko Uezawa, Certified Nurse of Cancer RadiotherapyKanami Hashiguchi, Nurse, Department of Radiology, Nagasaki University Second-Year Student (Masters Course) in the Certified Nurse Specialist Program in Radiotherapy, Graduate School of Biomedical Sciences, School of Health Sciences, Nagasaki UniversityThe Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant accident was triggered by the Great East Japan Earthquake on March 11. The accident was beyond all our assumptions and its repercussions have not yet shown signs of dissipating. We thus cannot help but feel anxious about the on-going situation. Fukushima Medical University Hospital (hereafter FMU Hospital) is located closest to the scene of the accident and is a hub medical institution because it is the only university hospital within the prefecture. Nagasaki University and Hiroshima University have both provided advanced medical treatment to people exposed to radiation. Forming an alliance with these two universities, FMU Hospital attempts to tackle this unprecedented nuclear disaster. We would like to share the testimonies of nurses specializing in radiotherapy at Nagasaki University to show how our nursing department has been working on site.Vice President Nakajima from the left, Uezawa nurse, Hashiguchi nurse (Nagasaki University)