Health Chats
Live from the Japan Disaster: Medical Response on the Ground
Tuesday Mar 22, 2011, 08:00PM - 09:00PM (EST)
Enoch Choi, MDBlank
Palo Alto Medical Foundation
Urgent Care, Palo Alto, CA
Join emergency aid physicians who will be reporting LIVE from Sendai, Japan on the medical response to the earthquake and tsunami disaster in this free one-hour health chat on Tuesday, March 22, at 8pm EDT/5pm PDT.<br><br> Moderated by Enoch Choi, MD, Medical Director of Jordan International Aid and MedHelp’s very own disaster preparedness expert.<br><br> In Sendai, Japan: Jesse Mendoza, President of Jordan International Aid<br> Dr. Tim Riesenberger, MD, emergency room physician<br> Vanessa Remhof, RN<br><br> Jordan International Aid is an all-volunteer based, humanitarian aid and relief organization. Jordan International Aid is assisting in a joint effort with the National University of Singapore Entrepreneurship Centre and a multidisciplinary team of skilled social entrepreneurs, nutritionists, health professionals and disaster veterans to assist in the Japan earthquake and tsunami disaster recovery.
Emergency Relief Doctors:
Just to add to the point concerning the mistrust within the government and the local media - there was a Turkish rescue worker who came to help and turned back because of the radiation exposure- people are very afraid and don't know what to believe.
Enoch Choi, MD:
Our teams are wearing dosimeters to measure the amount absorbed
Enoch Choi, MD:
We wouldn't be there if we didn't think that the risk was acceptable to go and help
Enoch Choi, MD:
We continue to have our MD and RN and rest of the team there
Enoch Choi, MD:
We're 90 miles north of Fukushima so we believe the risk is low
Enoch Choi, MD:
We're not within the 12 mile Japanese evacuation, nor within the 50 mile USA military recommended radius of evacuation
Emergency Relief Doctors:
Risk of radiation exposure after being in Japan - how do we feel about being here and the risk of being here?
Enoch Choi, MD:
I want to welcome Randy Roberson, who joined our Haiti trip last year, and is a seasoned disaster logistician with his 501c3 TeleHelp
Enoch Choi, MD:
He is with Jesse now in Japan
Enoch Choi, MD:
and on the chat with us
Enoch Choi, MD:
He has been to many past disasters helping with telemedicine, connecting survivors with physicians who provide cosultations from a distance
Emergency Relief Doctors:
there are a couple of different factors that we are paying attention to - we are tied by a satellite so we have a bunch of expert groups that are helping us understand the technical risks - one of the points that is very reassuring to us is a group that came from Tokyo who had monitoring devices with them and were coming up with readings that were still in the milli-range and so there was much less than a medical dose of radiation. So it seemed the risks were small. However there were many factors we were monitoring like wind direction. We are constantly trying to stay abreast to all of those factors so our team can stay safe and all also protect those whom we are serving.
ChitChatNine:
Are any additional immunizations required/suggested for persons visiting Japan from the United States?
Enoch Choi, MD:
Not currently.  The US government is advising against all non-essential travel to Japan
Pam:
What do the Japanese people need most right now?  In essence how can we help?
Enoch Choi, MD:
Food, fuel, medicine & supplies
Emergency Relief Doctors:
one of the greatest challenges we saw was being able to get various supplies to where they were needed
Emergency Relief Doctors:
not so much acquiring the supplies but the logistics as far as making that happen
Enoch Choi, MD:
They cannot reach rural areas away from Sendai, where many supplies are located, due to lack of fuel, lack of knowing who is sheltering at home without way of communicating their needs
Emergency Relief Doctors:
what is needed where and how to transport that supplies to that area. the Japanese seem to be doing a very good job of getting the food and medical supplies to where they are needed but struggling to obtain the proper amount of information to where they need to deliver those supplies
Enoch Choi, MD:
500,000 were in shelters immediately after the disaster, now only 1/3 million
Enoch Choi, MD:
those 170,000 are now outside of shelters, away from the support that is focused on the shelters.  Even in the shelters, limited support, little food & water
Emergency Relief Doctors:
there are still areas where the medical search still exists. many of the people still lack food and water - most in the relief camps are eating one meal a day. there seems to be more coming but it is a slow process but there seems to be more help coming in the next few weeks. This is in Ichinomaki - 2 hour drive northeast of Sendai.
Enoch Choi, MD:
Ishinomaki
Enoch Choi, MD:
on the coast
Enoch Choi, MD:
very affected by both the earthquake and the tsunami
Emergency Relief Doctors:
as is common in many disasters one of the medical challenges is that displaced people had to plea for their lives without taking prescription medications with them. so many of those displaced people are without proper medication like blood pressure and diabetes medications. there is still a medical need in those areas that is far more significant that basic medical disaster trauma needs.
Emergency Relief Doctors:
basic medical disaster trauma needs include things like bandages
Emergency Relief Doctors:
flea*
Emergency Relief Doctors:
flee*
Enoch Choi, MD:
Those who are away from their homes don't have their chronic medicines, and I've seen on NHK that the Japanese volunteer doctors are trying to help with substituting medicines, but according to the UN report today, there are only 71 medical volunteers deployed to the 300,000, which sounds understaffed
hanaguchi:
Is it true that the Japanese government has not been very welcoming to foreign aid workers?