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Thread: Japanese hospitals accused 'again' of transferring contaminated blood

  1. #1
    Twirling dragon Maciamo's Avatar
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    Exclamation Japanese hospitals accused 'again' of transferring contaminated blood

    This is becoming a seriously dreadful habit.

    Japan Times : State names hospitals in blood scandal

    The health ministry on Thursday disclosed the names of 6,916 hospitals and 17 medical suppliers believed to have stocked a hepatitis C-tainted blood product that caused one of the largest medical disasters in Japan's postwar history.
    ...
    Of the 6,933 groups listed, 6,611 have been contacted by the ministry and reported that they had stocked the coagulant.
    Not the first time such "mistakes" happen in the greedy and careless Japanese hospitals :

    It is estimated that between 1980 and 2001, 290,000 people were given fibrinogen to treat such conditions as hemophilia. More than 10,000 people are believed to have been infected.
    ...
    When the government in 1996 named the hospitals that had stocked HIV-contaminated blood products, it made sure that each hospital sent a notice to all current and former patients to be tested for HIV. Back then, the scandal involved about 2,000 hospitals.
    ...
    But with infected fibrinogen, more than 25 percent of all medical institutions in Japan carried it at that time.
    and the government and ministry of jutice visibly protects the hospitals ('the companies') rather than the victims, as is common practice in Japan.

    Also, the hepatitis-infected victims are still in the courts, with no out-of-court settlements in the works. In the HIV cases, the mostly hemophiliacs infected by blood products that were not properly heat-sterilized reached damages settlements with the government several months before the hospital names were disclosed.

    "While the government might be hesitant to admit it, it seems to be reluctant to take action for fear of having more victims turn up and join the suits," he said. "This is a coverup."

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  2. #2
    –é˜IŽ€‹ê! TwistedMac's Avatar
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    that's horrible O_O
    I'm just stumped for now.
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    Regular Member misa.j's Avatar
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    The ministry earlier had put the number of such institutions at 7,004, based on reports from Mitsubishi Pharma Corp., the successor to Green Cross Corp., which sold the U.S.-made coagulant known as fibrinogen.
    Does this mean that they used the American blood products on Japanese people? It's so weird!
    It is also horrible because Japan is way behind on HIV.

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    Resident Latina silver angel's Avatar
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    And that is why my medicine is synthetic. I've lost several friends from the tainted blood in 1980. My friend Jim died just as they (CDN Gov't.) decided to help those infected with HIV or Hepatits C.
    Bad timing no?
    if strawberries were people....
    I'd still eat them.

  5. #5
    Twirling dragon Maciamo's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by misa.j
    Does this mean that they used the American blood products on Japanese people? It's so weird!
    It is also horrible because Japan is way behind on HIV.
    Well the coagulant in question is like a medicine, not blood itself. It's obvious that some American medicines are used in Japan. For example Pfizer is well-established in Japan.

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    Resident Latina silver angel's Avatar
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    Do they used Aventis type products in Japan then? It's much safer to use.
    My one question about this is, do they still use coagulants with human blood in it in Japan? I'm sure there are other companies that can supply synthetic blood products.

  7. #7
    Twirling dragon Maciamo's Avatar
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    Here is more from today. Yomiuri : Tokyo hospital may lose special rating

    The Health, Labor and Welfare Ministry decided Saturday to consider nullifying the designation of Tokyo Medical University Hospital as a special institution providing advanced treatment because of the deaths of four patients after heart valve operations involving the same surgeon.

    Ministry officials pointed out that there had been numerous medical accidents, in addition to the deaths of the four patients, at the hospital in Shinjuku Ward, Tokyo.
    For those who don't know, the Tokyo Medical University Hospital is considered by many Japanese as the medical institution par excellence. There are always long queues due to its popularity and people come from as far as Hokkaido and Okinawa to be treated there, because they don't trust other hospitals.

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    Medical malpractise: Chronic case (Asahi Shimbun)

    ``If (hospitals) do not report the truth for fear of running into trouble with the patients, it won't help produce effective countermeasures,'' said Kikuo Nomoto, a council director. ``We hope hospitals will make accurate reports.''(IHT/Asahi: December 14,2004)

    Maybe the patients hope that, too.
    For those who don't know, the Tokyo Medical University Hospital is considered by many Japanese as the medical institution par excellence. There are always long queues due to its popularity and people come from as far as Hokkaido and Okinawa to be treated there, because they don't trust other hospitals.
    I don't know how this is in Japan, but in Finland atleast people are used to thinking that our health care system is the best in the world. Maybe that was the case in the 1980s but not anymore! They just think that because people supposedly think the system is doing great, they can stop keeping up the quality. People are more and more dissatisfied nowadays, though, so maybe something will happen soon. Besides, the healthcare is tax funded here, so we have a right to demand for better services. Is the healthcare tax funded in Japan or do you pay for everything yourself?

  9. #9
    Twirling dragon Maciamo's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by miu
    I don't know how this is in Japan, but in Finland atleast people are used to thinking that our health care system is the best in the world. Maybe that was the case in the 1980s but not anymore! They just think that because people supposedly think the system is doing great, they can stop keeping up the quality. People are more and more dissatisfied nowadays, though, so maybe something will happen soon. Besides, the healthcare is tax funded here, so we have a right to demand for better services. Is the healthcare tax funded in Japan or do you pay for everything yourself?
    First, healthcare system does not mean quality of medical services. A good healthcare is just an insurance that does not cost much and covers a lot of things. I'd say that all the top 10 healthcare systems are in EU countries. I think the UK's NHS is particularily good, as it doesn't cost much and covers everything (except medicines), from a visit to the doctor for a cold or a bloddtest, to a serious operation. I was surprised that the Japanese national health insurance is quite expensive (consider than 100 to 300 euro/month is normal). and it covers very little. For example, it does not cover bloodtests, kinesitherapy, accupuncture, psychotherapy, as well as many other things and only pay for 2/3 of all other costs (visits to the doctor, operations, etc.).

    As for the quality of medical services (how good doctors are), which is the main point of this article, I think that all Western countries as well as some others like India (Indian doctors are usually as good as British doctors) rank higher than Japan. But it is usually accepted that the leaders in terms of medicinal science and treatment is France (you can consider Belgium a part of France in this case). And indeed, from personal experience, the difference between French/Belgian doctors and Japanese doctors is like day and night. I have some knowledge of medicine, my grandfather and 2 other relatives being doctors, and having learned a lot by myself to satisfy my curiosity. When I go to the doctor I usually know exactly what I have, and the only reason I go there is to get a prescription (in Europe I also know the name of the usual medicines for a cold, flue or other common illness and which ones work best for me).

    I also like asking the doctor lots of questions, either to compare their diagnosis with mine, or to learn more myself. Just the fact that Japanese doctors don't want to answer questions and don't explain what the patient has or why they choose this or that medicine rather than another one (not because I am a foreigner, but equally with Japanese people), make me seriouly soubt their abilities. But the way they examine the patient and the type of question and advice they give ("don't take a bath for a few days", "you should drink green tea"... o-O ) is already dubbious, but when it comes to prescribing medecines (antibiotics for anything even a common cold !) make me think they do not have even the most fundamental knowledge of medicine.

    No wonder that we hear of so many medical malpactice in Japan (several times a month, and that is only for bad enough cases like above that managed to make the news). Except for contaminated blood transfusion, I read about many cases of patients dying because of obvious mistakes, even for minor hospitalization where there is (anywhere else) no chance of dying. Too strong anaesthesia, drips that contain poison instead of nutrients, etc. are just everyday stories in Japan. They don't even make the news in major newspapers anymore (you have to go to the tabloids or regional papers).

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    Quote Originally Posted by Maciamo
    First, healthcare system does not mean quality of medical services.
    Sorry about that, I guess I just have a different understanding about what it means.

    Just the fact that Japanese doctors don't want to answer questions and don't explain what the patient has or why they choose this or that medicine rather than another one (not because I am a foreigner, but equally with Japanese people), make me seriouly soubt their abilities.
    Are you familiar with the term "wrapping culture"? I was on a course on the japanese society this fall and we had to read a few chapters from Joy Hendry's work Wrapping Culture. I think it was in one of the chapters that she proposed that doctors don't tell their patients much because it's a part of the wrapping. They even avoid telling patients if they are severly ill. If I was sick, I'd definitely want to know what was wrong... I don't know how the Japanese feel about this, though. Whether they would be angry or not if they find out their doctor hasn't told them everything about their condition, that is. Maybe this kind of wrapping is atleats partly related to the hospital malpractise cover-ups?

    But I totally agree that prescribing antibiotics for common cold is rather careless... You could also talk about the use of antibacterial substances in detergents. I mean, come on - they put trichlosane even in toothpastes! I think that kind of stuff should be administrated by doctors only, I don't think that dentists would agree that it's safe to kill all the bacteria from your mouth unless you have a serious infection going on there.

  11. #11
    Twirling dragon Maciamo's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by miu
    Are you familiar with the term "wrapping culture"? I was on a course on the japanese society this fall and we had to read a few chapters from Joy Hendry's work Wrapping Culture. I think it was in one of the chapters that she proposed that doctors don't tell their patients much because it's a part of the wrapping. They even avoid telling patients if they are severly ill. If I was sick, I'd definitely want to know what was wrong... I don't know how the Japanese feel about this, though. Whether they would be angry or not if they find out their doctor hasn't told them everything about their condition, that is. Maybe this kind of wrapping is atleats partly related to the hospital malpractise cover-ups?
    I have never heard of this "wrapping practice". Is that in Japan, right ? Well, that is a flagrant conflict with the ethical code of Western doctors, who have the duty to inform the patient if they find out a disease. Western doctors are also bound by this ethical code never to reveal any disease or condition of any of their patient to any other third party without the patient's prior consent. In either case, if a doctor does not inform the patient or inform someone else, they would be liable to heavy damages in a lawsuit.
    However, the first time I visited a doctor in Japan, there was not even a separation between the patients being examined and the other 20 other people waiting, so that everybody could hear what was being said (there was only one room, and the next 3 patients sat 2m behind !). From this point of view, Japan is certainly at the antipodes of Europe, and from a Western point of view, I am sorry but Japan is considerably backward for the way medicine id practiced.

  12. #12
    Twirling dragon Maciamo's Avatar
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    New Headline today : Yomiuri : Survey finds hospitals 'neglectful'

    Only 12 percent of hospitals conduct posttransfusion blood tests on all recipients as required by a government guideline, the Health, Labor and Welfare Ministry said Saturday in its first nationwide survey on the issue.

    Under the government guideline, hospitals should test all such patients for side effects or infections.

    Even though many more cases of infection through blood transfusions, including the transmission of viral hepatitis, have surfaced recently, the survey indicates a large number of infections may have gone undetected.
    ....
    In such cases, it is highly likely that the infection will not be reported to the Japanese Red Cross Society or the central government, the officials added.
    At first, I thought it was pretransfusion, whch would be utterly unacceptable (basically as bad as using the same needle for all patients), but as it is posttranfusion, that only make it "careless".

  13. #13
    Regular Member misa.j's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Maciamo
    However, the first time I visited a doctor in Japan, there was not even a separation between the patients being examined and the other 20 other people waiting, so that everybody could hear what was being said (there was only one room, and the next 3 patients sat 2m behind !). From this point of view, Japan is certainly at the antipodes of Europe, and from a Western point of view, I am sorry but Japan is considerably backward for the way medicine id practiced.
    First of all, I am sorry that you had such a bad experience especially when you didn't feel well. And I agree with you how hospitals in Japan is slow when it comes to people's privacy and informing.

    The nursing college I went to was very strict about teaching the students "Informed Consent"; we were not allowed to use the patients' names or any other personal information when the students discussed about the cases they were studying, and of course, there was no discussion outside the school.

    I worked at a psychiatric hospital where the information given to patients was chosen considering the patients' and their families' capacity, which had completely different policy from general practice hospitals.

    I wouldn't be surprised you had the experience at a huge hospital owned by politicians where the doctors only care about the cost cuts and profit, though.

  14. #14
    Twirling dragon Maciamo's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by misa.j
    I wouldn't be surprised you had the experience at a huge hospital owned by politicians where the doctors only care about the cost cuts and profit, though.
    No, it was qlways small private doctor's offices.

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    I jump to conclusions mad pierrot's Avatar
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    Not to add to the negativity here...

    But I just thought I'd share some of my problems I've had with hospitals in Japan.

    1. I went to the hospital seeking treatment for a gastric ulcer. I tell them I have one. (Previously diagnosed.) They examine me, tell me I have a "kaze," and try and charge me 9,000 yen for medicane I don't need.

    2. I friend of mine, later discovered to have Lyme Disease, was misdiagnosed as "depressed."

    ......

  16. #16
    Ä“÷‚킪‰Æ‚ªˆê”ԁII Suki-Yaki's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by mad pierrot
    2. I friend of mine, later discovered to have Lyme Disease, was misdiagnosed as "depressed."

    ......

    Sometimes Japanese people have the idea we foreigners live depressively I don't know why..
    Ohhh now I hope I will never get sick ... :bowling:

    The only bad experience I've had in a japanese hospital is on the medical check day when I had to wear only that blue light shirty thing and then be examined by a super hottie Japanese doctor .. (well , that wasn't such a bad experience anyway heh heh heh )

    Ahhh this is a serious thread !! Ignore the lame joke everyone please !!

  17. #17
    Regular Member misa.j's Avatar
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    After I went back to Japan I went to see a doctor because I wanted to clear some of my doubts; the doctor I saw was so arrogant and snappy that he acted as if he didn't even want to listen to me. He examined me without a nurse in the room which made me uncomfortable, told me that taking the tests would be just waste of time and money for me, and gave me a prescription of a common cold, which I didn't even have at the time. This was one of bad experiences I can remember.

    I can totally picture a lot of you guys being frustrated by the treatment you receive at Japanese hospitals and clinics. They do need to study more and improve their service.

    I try to avoid going to see a doctor now because I usually feel worse by doing so.

  18. #18
    Twirling dragon Maciamo's Avatar
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    I haven't checked much the news recently. However I've found this today :
    Woman wins 50 mil. yen over malpractice

    The Tokyo District Court on Monday ordered the state to pay 50 million yen to a 66-year-old woman who said she had suffered serious physical disorders after a doctor at a national sanatorium for leprosy patients failed to provide proper treatment.

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    Resident Latina silver angel's Avatar
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    From a Canadian point of view, it seems that Japan isn't very concerned about the well being of it's people. Of course this is a broad assumtion of mine. I'm sure there are hospitals that do care, but this tainted blood problem is just pure carelessness on the doctors and nurses part. I never expected a country so advanced in our time to have problems with blood transfusions and the overall care of patients.
    Is that why so many Japanese come to study medicine here in Canada? Our university has seen an increase in exchange students from Asia (China, Japan, Philipines etc.) to study medicine.
    I know that there are hospitals in Japan that most likely do an excellent job but, it's the ones that only care about wages and politics that are brought to attention. it's kind of dissapointing for me, because I depend on the hospital more than a regular healthy person and if the care in Japan is reckless then I can't go and visit in the future.

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    Twirling dragon Maciamo's Avatar
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    Oops, they did it again ! One more such story this week : Japan Times : Doc's license yanked over '80 quackery

    The problem is that it takes so long (here 25 years) before the cuplrits are finally sentenced. No wonder change comes so slowly in Japan.

  21. #21
    –Ú˜^ Index's Avatar
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    My six weeks in Japnese hospitals was scary. My first thought when I woke up in ICU was whether I'd be used as a guinea pig since I was a foreigner. Maybe I was....

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