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Radiation emergency medical preparedness in Japan--lessons learned from the Fukushima accident

Radiation emergency medical preparedness in Japan--lessons learned from the Fukushima accident

Nihon Rinsho. Japanese Journal of Clinical Medicine 70(3): 469-474

Although radiation exposure accidents fortunately occur only rarely, potential sources for exposure accidents can be found anywhere. When persons are accidentally exposed to radiation, physicians may be involved in their assessment and care; of course, their early diagnosis and dose assessment are crucial. After the criticality accident at Tokaimura in 1999, the system of radiation emergency medical preparedness has been further strengthened for nuclear facilities in Japan. In the revised system, hospitals involved were classified into three levels, depending on their locations and capabilities. The Great East Japan Earthquake attacked the Pacific coast area of eastern Japan on 11 March 2011. This earthquake and tsunami caused serious damage to the nuclear power plants of Tokyo Electric Power Co.(TEPCO) in Fukushima Prefecture; a large amount of radionuclides such as iodine and cesium were released into the environment. Since the revised system was focused on treatment of heavily exposed patients and knowledge on radiation was not enough for medical staff, many problems were raised at hospitals and fire departments in this disaster.

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Accession: 055343648

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PMID: 22514928

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