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Emergency medical manuals eyed ahead of 2020 Games

An academic consortium of 18 medical associations in Japan is aiming to draw up manuals by the end of this fiscal year on how to handle medical emergencies. The move is to prepare for terrorist attacks and other unexpected incidents that may occur during the 2020 Tokyo Olympics and Paralympics.


The consortium includes the Japanese Association for Acute Medicine, the Japanese Association for The Surgery of Trauma (JAST) and the Japanese Society for Clinical Toxicology.


The manuals are expected to cover such matters as the process of diagnosing injuries caused by guns and bombs, and guidelines for temporarily expanding intensive care units (ICU) during the Games to sufficiently treat the seriously wounded.


Preparing such manuals is yet to progress, in part because Japan has been hit by very few terrorist attacks.


The consortium will disseminate the manuals to hospitals. It will also make efforts to improve the current medical system through giving symposiums and other measures.


The consortium plans to ask the Tokyo metropolitan government and the Tokyo Organizing Committee of the Olympic and Paralympic Games to base their relevant measures and policies on the manuals.


The consortium was founded in 2016. It examined basic policy on activities and other matters first, and then started full-scale work on drawing up the manuals in November last year.


The consortium will be joined by doctors from the National Defense Medical College to reflect the accumulated expertise of Japanese defense.


The JAST will be in charge of drawing up a diagnosis manual on treating people injured by guns and bombs in possible terrorist attacks by working with doctors who have provided medical treatment in South Africa and elsewhere.


When a person is shot by a rifle or similar firearm, the organs and tissue that are not near where the bullet went can also be damaged. Shock waves from explosions and bomb blasts can cause eyeballs to rupture and thermal burns. The manual will ask doctors and paramedics to consider such factors when treating victims of a terrorist attack.


The manuals will also include an overseas report in which the survival rate of heavily bleeding patients with injuries to their limbs improved when a tourniquet was applied before they were transported to a hospital.


“Firearms and bombs are very deadly, so there’s no time to wonder about things when a victim is in front of you,” said Akio Kimura, the JAST chair of the board. “We’d like to help increase the knowledge of doctors and other medical specialists, just in case.”


In the United States, steps are being taken to add temporary ICUs to hospitals by improving the equipment in patients’ rooms in general wards when many people are seriously injured.


The Japanese Society of Intensive Case Medicine will check how many patients can be admitted to an ICU and develop a guideline for temporarily increasing the number of beds there by studying the U.S. example.


“I hope the guideline will be useful not only in terrorist attacks, but also during other disasters,” said Masaji Nishimura, the society’s chair of the executive board.


The Japanese Society for Burn Injuries has compiled a primary care manual for burns, including the necessary measures for different causes, such as fires and chemicals.


The number of severe burn patients that can be admitted to life-saving emergency centers across the country has increased by 50 percent compared to 25 years ago.


The Japanese Society for Emergency Medicine is deliberating on measures for rescuing foreign tourists, taking into consideration differences in languages and religions.


“It is imperative to establish a necessary medical system toward 2020 and for everyone in the society to join hands and cooperate,” said Naoto Morimura, president of the consortium’s Joint Committee of the Disaster Emergency Medical System for the 2020 Games.

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