Archive for March 6th, 2013

Man Denied Hospital Admittance, Not for Lack of Health Insurance

Wednesday, March 6th, 2013

There a tons of people worried about not getting health care services because they don’t have insurance, but what about not being cared for because the hospital is full?  A man in Japan just died because 25 different hospitals denied caring for him in his time of weakened health.  My first thought was that he didn’t have health insurance, but that wasn’t the case at all.  According to The Christian Post’s Jessica Rodriguez, the 75 year old Japanese man who died had lived somewhere north of Tokyo.  I also learned that he was denied emergency room care at the 25 different hospitals a total of 36 times in a two hour span in the article “25 Hospitals Turn Man Down: Man Dies in Healthcare Fiasco in Japan.”

The man lived alone and called for emergency help because he was having a severely hard time breathing.  Although the ambulance arrived in plenty of time and began caring for him, their calls to hospitals so the man could receive more in-depth treatment were denied.  Emergency workers spent two hours almost begging a hospital to take the elderly man, sometimes calling hospitals a second time as his condition deteriorated.  They finally found a hospital to take him in that was out of the prefecture in which he lived.  But the two hour delay in finding a hospital coupled with the farther drive to the one that would actually accept the man were too much for his body to handle.  He was pronounced dead soon after arriving at the only hospital that would accept him.

So why were these hospitals denying a man treatment, especially if it wasn’t because of a lack of health insurance coverage?  Each hospital said that they either didn’t have enough doctors working to care for all of the patients or they didn’t have enough beds to accommodate him.  Maybe they were not clear of his dire situation, but this lack of health care has likely caused a death that could have been prevented.  Supposedly, the city of Kuki has told its hospitals that they must increase their emergency room capabilities so that something like this doesn’t happen again.  But it makes me wonder if this is going to become a bigger problem in Japan.  Their population has been steadily growing, but their health care system may not be keeping up if this is the kind of treatment patients receive.