Monday, April 4, 2011

A Nurse's Note vol.4 "Children and Seniors"

This is a blog entry by a Japanese nurse who joined emergency response team at shelters in damaged area.  Originally, these entries were written in Japanese, and spoken widely in Japanese.  I decided to translate and summarize her notes in English, so that more people can understand what is actually going on in Japan.

She is a nurse who works in Tokyo, and her hospital formed emergency medical response team after series of massive earthquake and tsunami hit Eastern Japan on March 11, 2011.
You can find the previous entry in here: A Nurse's Note vol.3 "The Red Flag".


March 17, 2011

We were headed to support a shelter where opened as medical center partially and accept emergency patients.
The beds were already full, and there were countless number of people who need to be seen by medical care people.  Medicines and medical supplies were definitely short.

At triage, a large number of toddlers came in with high fever with 39 °C (102.2°F).
I had a bad feeling ---- and I was right, flu.

We brought Relenza and Tamiflu, but it's not enough, so prescribed acetaminophen for lighter symptoms for the fever.
Children and senior people were affected because of weaker immune system, and especially in this situation, it was very possible to spread in a lot of people.
I was being very anxious it wouldn't happen.

We got dispatch from our team members in other location that they wanted to send seniors who were having diarrhea and dehydration.  They were eating uncooked rice because of scarcity in supply, and were getting infection in digestive system.

On the radio, I heard news that there were a lot of supplies and aids coming from all over the places, but small shelters did not receive them or not transported because of gasoline shortage.

I also drank snow-melt water and had upset stomach, but I tried to be smiling in front of people, be strong.
I had only 2 and a half hours of break today, and planned to work until the next morning. But everybody was in harder condition, so I could do it.

All of the seniors transported were dehydrated and had hypothermia.
Our IV supply was about to run out.  We only had a few more boxes of needles.
There was a patient in a shock with low blood pressure due to stomach ulcer from stress.
"Endoscopy and blood transfusion, right away!", a doctor yelled, and told himself, "oh, that's right, we don't have anything here..."
So all we could do was to give IV to keep blood level, and send these patients by air to Moriaoka city where these treatments are available.
Our team felt sorry for not able to give the best treatments here, seeing off each helicopter.
I hoped we can tell another team in Ishimaki city for medical devices, but it might be the same situation there too.

More and more people were searching for their missing family members.  An old man who was looking for his wife did not rest.

It was unimaginable situation and severity, but I heard of good news such as express buses resumed the operation, and bullet train resumed the operation partially.

Things were improving than yesterday.

Continued to volume 5 "Lost Life, A New Life".


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