FUKUSHIMA Lives on the Line

73chap.IIFukushima Medical University Record of Activities [Notes and Messages]FUKUSHIMA: Lives on the LineBecause of the nuclear radiation released from the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant, the residents of Fukushima Prefecture have been subjected to meaningless discrimination. Despite the fact that the radiation is not of a level harmful to others, refugees have been turned away when traveling outside the prefecture and shipments of goods have been similarly treated. These are hurtful actions. Why do people exhibit such cold, uninformed reactions? I know of no instructions by the government asking people to act in this manner. I helped in transporting patients to FMU Hospital after they had been brought by helicopter from hospitals within the evacuation zone. Although it was not much, I think I was of some help to the prefecture residents. I would like to ask all the readers to cast aside whatever they have heard in the news or read in tabloids and do whatever they can to aid the people of Fukushima Prefecture.I am working as hard as I can to help those in the disaster area in whatever way possible. There are others who are doing what they can for the disaster area by working at the evacuee shelters. As all this takes place, fear of radiation has spread across the entire country. However, despite the measured radiation levels in Fukushima and other areas being extremely small—too small to pose any health risk—the incorrect opinions about radiation are actually delaying the recovery. I feel that this is the biggest problem we are facing. I think that better awareness of the conditions of the disaster area as well as rational judgment will help Japan work as one to bring about recovery.Although the disaster sites were chaotic, the medical staff allowed students to join the response teams. We offered our cooperation and support without regard to our social status or grade. Moreover, what was most rewarding was the ability to help patients, even if what we did was very little. My strong desire to become a full-fledged doctor was rekindled. This time, the disaster occurred in Fukushima, but wherever the next such event occurs, I would like to take the initiative to contribute whatever I can.First, I would like to offer my prayers for all those who lost their lives in this disaster. A large number of people were affected by this catastrophe. Although Fukushima City was relatively less damaged, the daily scenery that I had taken for granted was reduced to ruins in just an instant. During the aftermath, I was able to witness the spirited efforts of our professors and nurses responding as quickly as possible to check on patients, fellow students gathering to try to do whatever they could, and other volunteers shown on TV trying to offer help. It left me with a positive impression of the strength everyone displayed. Whether for themselves or for others, those who did whatever they could to resolve this crisis were sensational, in my opinion. I saw news reports saying that more than 10,000 people lost their lives in this earthquake. Each of them had families and those family members must be surely suffering for the loss. I pray that that the suffering does not increase anymore beyond this terrible point. I hope that Japan will be able to experience a very rapid recovery.FMU and Fukushima Prefecture have been the target of unfounded discrimination and defamation. Nevertheless, we continue our utmost efforts to deliver quality education and produce excellent doctors and researchers. We also ardently hope to overcome this setback and push the university toward further growth so that it will be a gathering place for ambitious students and interns who yearn to rebuild the health care system of Fukushima.Messages from Student VolunteersFumiya AnzaiFourth year medical school student; native of Fukushima Prefecture (Fukushima Prefectural High School)Seiya OgataFourth year medical school student; native of Fukushima Prefecture (Fukushima Prefectural High School)Tadahisa TakahashiFifth year medical school student; native of Ibaraki Prefecture (Hitachi Daiichi High School)Hironori TakagiFifth year medical school student; native of Fukushima Prefecture (Iwaki High School)