DISCLAIMER FROM THE TRANSLATOR: While I speak both English and Japanese fluently, I know nothing about medicine. These are rough translations made through tears (i.e., sometimes while bawling). Please take all medical details in particular with a grain of salt. These translations have not been proofread and will be revised on a later date.

Please note that I am NOT in contact with the original author, who has given general permission for translation in one of her entries.

I would appreciate it if everyone can refrain from posting these entries elsewhere and to share this address <http://jkts-english.blogspot.com> instead, as I will be making revisions to each entry directly (addresses for individual entries may change if I revise their titles).



Start reading here: 1) To the affected areas.

Thursday, April 7, 2011

4) Children and the elderly

March 17

I joined a medical team that is operating a first-aid station and hospital in one of the evacuation sites, where ambulances were coming in.

Their beds were already full, and the waiting room was crowded by countless patients requesting to be seen. Medicine and medical supplies were desperately short.

I went around to do triage and found that there were many children with temperatures up to 39°C.

Uhh, I don't have a good feeling about this.

My hunch was right: influenza.

We brought both Relenza and Tamiflu, but we don't have enough in stock. We gave Calonal to patients with lighter symptoms and hoped that their temperatures will go down. There are many small children and elderly people with lower resistance, and in the present situation, everyone has lowered resistance so there is a strong likelihood that this will be contagious.

We decided to separate influenza patients and patients with other symptoms inside the first-aid station, as well.

I felt frantic with the wish that the illness won't spread any more than it already has.

An emergency request from one of the emergency sites that one of my colleagues has been sent to.

They want to send us several elderly patients who have diarrhea and are becoming dehydrated. Supplies were not reaching their area, and they had actually resorted to eating uncooked rice, causing gastroenteritis.

I had heard on the radio that supplies were coming in steadily, but they had yet to reach smaller evacuation sites and the fuel shortage was making circulation difficult.

I'd drunk water from melted snow myself and my stomach didn't feel very good.

But no whining! Smile! Smile! You're feeling great in front of everyone! Just great!

Two and a half hours of rest today, and working straight into the morning. Everyone here is having a much, much harder time, so I have to deal with this.

The elderly who are brought in all have symptoms of dehydration and low body temperatures.

Our stock of intravenous drips is almost out. Only a few boxes of intravenous needles left, too.

Another patient who was brought in was in shock with low blood pressure after hematemesis, possibly from a stomach ulcer hemorrhage from the stress of living in an evacuation site. The doctor yelled for an endoscope and a blood transfusion before coming to his senses and remembering that we have nothing here.

As an emergency treatment, we secured some intravenous drips and kept the blood pressure steady through fluid replacement as the patient was transported on a helicopter to Morioka, where endoscopes and proper treatment are available.

The medical team looks on with sorrow for being unable to give the patient the treatment that is needed.

It would be great if we can get in touch with Ishinomaki tomorrow and let them know that we are lacking medical equipment, but maybe it's the same for them, too.

More and more disaster victims who still can't get in touch with their families.

An old man who keeps searching for his wife since that day. I wish he could get some rest, somehow.

The situation really is beyond imagination and sometimes I almost can't bear the severity any more, but there's also news about some expressway buses running again, and the bullet train is also back, partway.

Things are definitely getting better than they were yesterday!!

Next entry: 5) Disappearing lives, newborn lives

Translated March 27.
Original entry in Japanese: 4、小児と高齢者

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