FUKUSHIMA Lives on the Line

74What does everyone think medical care means? Most people probably think that it means “helping the sick,” “working for those who are in need,” or “imparting knowledge that allows people to live longer.” Because of this recent disaster and my work as a student volunteer, I have had the opportunity to think more about the meaning of death and my own life from various perspectives. Particularly because of the fear of radiation exposure, I think that this event forced many Fukushima residents into the painful position of choosing between what to prioritize immediately and what to put off until later. The FMU staff chose to prioritize the lives of patients and work to the utmost extent of their abilities. FMU is doing its utmost to provide medical care that will help as many people as possible. In support of this effort, I have been allowed to shadow my professors and learn from their example.Throughout history, people have always worked together to help each other during crises. I think that the people of Japan and those of the rest of the world are the ones who can aid Fukushima residents, for example by purchasing products related to Fukushima and supporting the very land of Fukushima itself. Please help our Fukushima. Thank you for whatever you can offer.I am working as a student volunteer because I want to offer any help I can to Fukushima Prefecture. It is my beloved birth place and I want to help save it from this unprecedented crisis. Although the persistent aftershocks and the nuclear power plant issues are a continuing concern, I am still continuing to work alongside my seniors and classmates.First, I would like to offer my sincerest prayers for the peace of those souls that perished in the earthquake. As a student, I was unable to be on the frontlines and offer emergency care or attend to the patients who were brought to FMU Hospital. With that frustration ever present, I did whatever I could, as earnestly as possible, to offer help. There was a time when I just wanted to remain a student and enjoy my college days; now that has changed. I have never felt more strongly that I want to quickly gain the knowledge and skills that will let me attend to this disaster scene as a medical doctor. At present, disaster aid and personnel are being continually sent to the afflicted areas; however, the recovery itself is not progressing in Fukushima as hoped, owing to the nuclear power plant accident, compounded by the negative effects of rumors and speculation. I truly hope that the people of Japan and the world properly educate themselves about radiation and offer whatever help they can to support the recovery of the disaster areas.It is extremely heartrending that so many people lost their lives in this unprecedented calamity, and I pray for their souls. The event gave me a renewed sense of importance of life. As I wondered whether there was anything that I could do in this situation, I decided to participate in the volunteer effort. Since I am only a student, there is little that I have to offer in terms of support. But I am volunteering now because I want to do something, even if small, for those in need of help and those whose lives are in danger. Last, let me express my wishes for the fastest recovery possible from the earthquake.I would like to express my heartfelt condolences to all those affected by the Great East Japan Earthquake. Immediately after the earthquake, I felt frustrated because there was nothing that I could do for the disaster victims. Soon afterward, the FMU professors allowed me to be a part of the medical staff team as a volunteer, even though I was a student.With this team, I visited some of the evacuation shelters within the prefecture. In the shelters, the situation Messages from Student Volunteers, Medical Interns, and Nursing School StudentsKotaro EndoFourth year medical school student; native of Fukushima Prefecture (Fukushima Prefectural High School)Seiji HoshiFourth year medical school student; native of Fukushima Prefecture (Shirakawa High School)Tomoki SaitoFourth year medical school student; native of Miyagi Prefecture (Sendai Ikuei Gakuen High School)Norihito KamoFourth year medical school student; native of Fukushima Prefecture (Fukushima Prefectural High School)Kazufumi YanaginumaFifth year medical school student; native of Fukushima Prefecture (Fukushima Prefectural High School)