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25 Hospitals Turn Down Man in Japan; He Dies at 26th

By Megan Anderle   |   Wednesday, 06 Mar 2013 08:55 AM

A 75-year-old Japanese man died after 25 hospitals in the Tokyo area refused to admit him to their emergency rooms, citing lack of beds or doctors to treat him.

The man, who lived alone in a city north of Tokyo, called an ambulance after suffering breathing problems at his home in January. In a two-hour span the responding paramedics called 25 hospitals, several of them more than once, but they all said the same thing: They did not have enough doctors to treat him or free beds, according to the Agence France-Presse.

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Eventually, emergency medical technicians drove the man 20 minutes to a neighboring district, Ibaraki prefecture, but the man was pronounced dead shortly after arriving. The cause of death has not been made public.

One of the paramedics told Jiji Press that they never saw "a patient being rejected so many times."

An official said emergency room capacity is a growing issue in the city of Kuki, where the man lived. Hospitals have been asked to hire more doctors and to put in more beds to help fix the issue.

Public healthcare in Japan is heavily subsidized and generally of a high global standard, the Agence France-Presse reports.
However, the population is living longer, and fewer young people are entering the workforce, so people in the healthcare field could continue to become strained in the coming decades.

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