FUKUSHIMA Lives on the Line

245chap.IVPatient Relief Activity Records [Essays and Research Publications]FUKUSHIMA: Lives on the Linelike in the case of the Tokai village criticality accident. It certainly did not assume large-scale nuclear disasters such as this one. Therefore, we have tried to compile a new manual that includes all types of scenarios and simulation exercises that can be conducted repeatedly. “We had never experienced such a nuclear accident in our lives, so there are still so many things we are not aware of. Therefore, it is important to conduct simulations and repeat them as many times as you need to be comfortable and confident in your actions. This is what simulation exercises do” (Ms. Hashiguchi). “To prepare for a large-scale accident, we conduct routine training exercises as well as specific ones, such as patient transportation, decontamination, and other medical procedures. We videotape each training exercise, which are then brought back to the meetings to identify areas of improvement” (Ms. Uezawa).At the radiation medical ward, we deployed nurses to respond to any situation 24 hours a day. The hospital also has two stand-by nurses who work in shifts, who also have to participate in simulation exercises. Ms. Hashiguchi conducted regular sessions to teach nurses how to use dosimeters and provide basic knowledge about radiation.“The exercises allowed us to change our attitude toward radiation. It was no longer about the fear of dealing with radiation, but about focus. We now focus our energy on trying to prevent radiation from spreading. The frequent simulations with protective garments and gloves have made us more confident in dealing with any circumstance” (Ms. Uezawa).If the after effects of a nuclear accident prolong, the number of staff members in the radiation medical ward will be reduced. Thus, it is important to build a system capable of operating without core staff members.Ms. Hashiguchi will return to Nagasaki University at the end of July. She said, “I am satisfied with the environment where core members have their specialties and share knowledge with other staff. I am glad that we have come this far in such a short period.” Vice President Nakajima, who is still pestered with queries emanating from the rumors about radiation, said “Providing correct information about radiation is the next step that our university hospital has to take. Some people evoke fears of radiation, making residents of Fukushima Prefecture excessively nervous.” Her concluding remark was “We are not certain about the future effects of the nuclear accident, but we are determined to remain involved in the health care of Fukushima residents.”�(At FMU Hospital, July 8, 2011)Repeated simulation exercises help participants develop the skills required to engage in prompt and adequate patient transportation, decontamination, and other medical procedures. These exercises can contribute toward the creation of a new manual.(Right) Ms. Hashiguchi from Nagasaki University videotaping the exercises for further assessmentThe Struggle of a Hub Hospital in Treating the Victims of Radiation Exposure