A 69-year old Tokyo man died two weeks ago because of a huge glitch in the Japanese ambulatory system. Somebody was just telling me about this recently. In Japan, if you call an ambulance, they then in turn have to call around to neighboring hospitals to see if the doctors in the emergency room have time to see another patient. As it goes, emergency rooms are often pretty busy and a lot of them say no. On this particular night, 14 hospitals said they were too busy and refused to take the ambulance in. The guy died 90 minutes after he was hit by a motorcycle. Most of those 90 minutes were spent in the ambulance, even though paramedics were at his side within minutes. He had severe head and back injuries and lost too much blood.
More than 14,000 emergency patients were rejected from hospitals three or more times in 2007. The record is a woman in her 70s who was having trouble breathing. She was denied entry by 49 hospitals. WTF?? One pregnant woman died in 2006 from a brain hemorrhage during childbirth because she was rejected by 19 hospitals.
Note to self: If ever in an emergency situation in Japan, don’t call an ambulance. Call a cab instead, because if you show up at the door instead of succumbing to the courtesy system of the ambulances, they’ll have to see you.
Link (Thanks, Walter!)