DEBITO.ORG
Arudou Debito/Dave Aldwinckle's Home Page

New ebooks by ARUDOU Debito

  • Book IN APPROPRIATE: A novel of culture, kidnapping, and revenge in modern Japan
  • Mainichi: Pregnant NJ woman rejected by 5 hospitals 7 times, in 2006!

    Posted by Dr. ARUDOU, Debito on September 28th, 2007

    Hi Blog. Get a load of this. It’s happening, as anticipated. When the Otaru Onsens Case first came up, one of the arguments Olaf and I made was the slippery slope. If hot springs were going to refuse NJ with impunity, what’s next? Bars? Stores? Restaurants? Hospitals?

    Now it seems even hospitals refusing NJ have come to pass.

    This is also happening to J women as well, the news reports. But that’s what makes this case even more ludicrous and nasty. According to the article below, these refusals happened to the NJ woman a whole year ago! It only became a “peg” for news because a similar thing recently happened to a Japanese! Oh, so until it happens to one of “us Japanese” it’s not newsworthy??

    Iron na imi de hidoi! Gongo doudan! Arudou Debito

    ///////////////////////////////////////////////////////////

    Foreign woman rejected 7 times by hospitals in western Japan after childbirth
    Mainichi Shinbun, September 27, 2007

    Courtesy http://mdn.mainichi-msn.co.jp/national/news/20070927p2a00m0na022000c.html
    Courtesy of Erich Meatleg

    A foreign woman seeking medical help in Japan after giving birth at home was rejected by five hospitals where officials said her Japanese wasn’t good enough and they didn’t have proper facilities, authorities said Thursday.

    The woman, in her 20s, was finally admitted to one of the hospitals after begging to be treated over two hours, during which two of the hospitals rejected her twice, said Takaaki Uchida, an official in Tsu.

    All of the hospitals were equipped with maternity wards, but only two had intensive care units for newborn babies.

    The incident happened in August 2006, but was reported in Japan on Thursday in the wake of the case of a 38-year-old woman who suffered a miscarriage last month after ten hospitals refused to admit her and her ambulance collided with another car.

    The cases have raised concerns about shortcomings in emergency care for pregnant women, an growing worry as Japan grapples with declining birthrates — among the lowest in the world — and a burgeoning elderly population.

    Uchida said the hospitals claimed the woman, whose name and nationality was withheld by officials, couldn’t speak Japanese well enough for them to communicate with her, and that they didn’t have emergency facilities to care for her newborn boy.

    The woman had never consulted a doctor at a maternity clinic during her pregnancy, a fact that also made it difficult for her to find a hospital, Tsu City fire official Yoshinobu Sakurai said.

    Sakurai also said the woman could not speak Japanese at all and her female companion to the hospital also spoke only broken Japanese.

    Both the mother and the baby boy were healthy, according to Sakurai.

    Following the miscarriage case, on Aug. 29 incident, the government has ordered local governments to review past cases of transporting pregnant women.

    Last year, a pregnant woman in western Japan died after being refused admission by about 20 hospitals that said they were full. (AP)

    September 27, 2007
    REFERENTIAL ARTICLE:
    Woman has miscarriage after waiting 3 hours to be transferred for emergency birth (see comments section)
    ENDS

    7 Responses to “Mainichi: Pregnant NJ woman rejected by 5 hospitals 7 times, in 2006!”

    1. debito Says:

      Woman has miscarriage after waiting 3 hours to be transferred for emergency birth
      http://mdn.mainichi-msn.co.jp/national/news/20070927p2a00m0na015000c.html

      A pregnant woman threatened with a premature delivery ended up having a miscarriage after about a dozen hospitals refused to accept her, forcing her to wait for more than three hours before she was finally accepted by a hospital in another city.

      A hospital in Tokyo’s Arakawa-ku said that the woman, who is in her 30s, was diagnosed as facing a premature delivery on the morning of Nov. 29 last year, and needed to be transferred to a hospital with a neonatal intensive care unit.

      The 53-year-old head of the hospital phoned other hospitals in the Tokyo Metropolitan area asking them to accept her, but they all refused, saying their neonatal intensive care units were full. Among the institutions were several that were recognized by the Tokyo Metropolitan Government as institutions providing high quality medical care.

      The hospital head decided it would be difficult to find an institution in Tokyo to accept the woman, and asked another hospital in Kawasaki, where a doctor he was familiar with worked, to take her in. She finally arrived at the hospital that afternoon, but five days later she had a miscarriage.(Mainichi)
      ENDS

    2. genericdave Says:

      This is very troubling, although I wouldn’t say that this is a sign of worse things to come in the future. Thankfully institutional policy that would exclude foreigners from receiving the treatment they need hasn’t materialized in hospitals (at least as far as I know), and I doubt this will ever be the case. I’m just glad Japan still has national health insurance as opposed to what we have here in the U.S. People are denied treatment here all the time if their insurance won’t cover them or if they simply don’t have insurance (of course this entirely depends on the hospital in question). Although what good is coverage if incompetent staff members won’t admit you based on your inability to communicate effectively.

      So while stories like this are infuriating to no end, and while they are definitely a sign of a major problem that needs fixing, I would hesitate to compare this to the sort of generalized discrimination that’s been going on in privately owned institutions. Of course I may just be splitting hairs here.

      Although thinking about this made me realize just how little I know about health care in Japan. I’d been interested in hearing more stories about Japanese and Non-Japanese experiences with Japanese hospitals and the health care system in general.

      =========================

      THANKS FOR YOUR COMMENT, GENERICDAVE. THE REASON I FIND THIS A SIGN OF WORSE THINGS TO COME IS THAT THE EXCUSE, “WE DON’T SPEAK FOREIGN LANGUAGES”, IS GAINING CURRENCY IN JAPAN THESE DAYS AS AN EXCUSE TO DENY NJ SERVICE.

      I’M FINDING MORE AND MORE HOTELS ARE CITING THEIR DEARTH OF LANGUAGE ABILITY TO SAY NO FOREIGNERS ALLOWED. (I HAVEN’T GOTTEN AROUND TO WRITING ABOUT SOME CASES I HEARD ABOUT IN AUGUST–AND I HAVE A PREFECTURAL TOURIST ASSOCIATION INVESTING ANOTHER BIG ONE–WAITING FOR FEEDBACK FROM THEM BEFORE I REPORT.) EVEN THOUGH, FOR A CHANGE, IN HOTELS BARRING GUESTS DUE TO NATIONALITY IS EXPRESSLY ILLEGAL (RYOKAN GYOUHOU ARTICLE 5).

      TO ME, HOSPITALS ARE THE NEXT RUNG ON THE LADDER–AND THEY ARE ESPECIALLY ODIOUS BECAUSE ACCESS TO MEDICAL CARE IS FUNDAMENTAL TO LIFE (AS OPPOSED TO, MANY PEDANTS HAVE ARGUED, THE NEED FOR A HOT-SPRING BATH OR A MEAL AT THIS PARTICULAR RESTAURANT–GO ELSEWHERE). IN SITUATIONS SUCH AS THESE, YOU MAY NOT HAVE THE TIME OR THE HEALTH TO DO SO.

      THAT SAID, LET’S OPEN THIS BLOG ENTRY UP TO SOME EXPERIENCES OF MEDICAL TREATMENT IN JAPAN. I’VE FORTUNATELY NEVER BEEN REFUSED BY A HOSPITAL (I’VE INSTEAD FOUND FOSSILIZED DOCTORS GIVING ME ACCESS TO PRACTICE THEIR LANGUAGE SKILLS, SOMETHING I FIND PARTICULARLY IRRITATING WHEN I’M SICK.) BUT MEDICAL CARE IN JAPAN I’VE FOUND TO BE MOSTLY ADEQUATE FOR MY NEEDS (I’M NOT A PERSON WHO LIKES GOING TO HOSPITALS, AND WOULD RATHER TAKE TABLETS AND RESORT TO BEDREST THAN CONSULT A DOCTOR WHEN I’M ILL), PERHAPS A B MINUS GRADE AT BEST. ARUDOU DEBITO IN SAPPORO

    3. genericdave Says:

      I’VE FORTUNATELY NEVER BEEN REFUSED BY A HOSPITAL (I’VE INSTEAD FOUND FOSSILIZED DOCTORS GIVING ME ACCESS TO PRACTICE THEIR LANGUAGE SKILLS, SOMETHING I FIND PARTICULARLY IRRITATING WHEN I’M SICK.)

      Ha. That’s particularly cruel. But yes, I agree that stories like this are cause for concern, and that it’s a call for certain measures to be taken. Which is one of the many reasons why this website of yours is so important. (Which is my way of saying thanks for running this thing)

      DE NADA. THANKS FOR CONTRIBUTING. DEBITO

    4. debito Says:

      WORD FROM SCOTT WALLACE AT THE COMMUNITY. DEBITO

      As a member of the medical community i would like to pass on some advice regarding this matter and it may well be worth passing it on to anyone else.

      Basically if you are not in need of a paramedic, i would suggest just TURNING UP at you nearest emergency room. Once you are there, they have a duty of care and they will assess you. Even if you can’t speak, read, or write Japanese. Also, in case anyone should every use the excuse of of not being able to use English, they are allocated special funds from central government to get a translator.They can also contact the medical help line in Tokyo.
      http://www.himawari.metro.tokyo.jp/qq/qq13enmnlt.asp
      TEL:03-5285-8185
      Weekdays :5:00PM-8:00PM
      Weekends Holidays :9:00AM-8:00PM
      Languages: English/Chinese/Korean/Thai/Spanish

      Translation service through phone is also available for foreign patients visiting a hospital if their treatment is not going to be carried out smoothly because of language difficulty. (for medical institutions)

      The excuse of not being able to speak English or Japanese is no excuse. Japanese people become unconscious, maybe unable to communicate for many reasons including CVA, RTA.

      SW

    5. Jon Says:

      In the U.S., all hospitals are required by law to take anyone who comes to the emergency room, even illegal immigrants. Japan does not have any laws that require hospitals to care for people who go to the emergency room?

    6. Global Voices Online » Japan: Pregnant Foreign Woman Rejected By Hospital Says:

      […] Debito blogs a local news about a pregnant foreign woman rejected by 5 hospitals 7 times. There are some good discussions in the comment session. Share This […]

    7. Lance Carter Says:

      The reason that hospitals in japan refuse foreigners is that unlike in the united states, there is no law forcing them to accept them, in the united states some hospitals close and go out of business because of this law. Emergency rooms in the united states are filled by patients many who do not have the money to pay but the hospitals are required by law to treat them.in japan if a foreinger does not have the money to pay for the hospital bill then there is little the hospital can do but eat the cost, many hospital simply claim to be full or that there is no attending physician on duty and simply refuse the ambulance, its a sad but true.

    Leave a Reply