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:
the single most profound need is the one for accurate information. as with any disaster, there is a significant amount of alarmist media that permeates through the area. many of the streets are bare - no vehicles, few people on the streets. Many people staying indoors because they don't feel it's safe to be outside.
Enoch Choi, MD:
They are allowing foreign doctors like our Tim Riesenberger to work if they are there, but not asking for help.  They think they have enough help with their own Japanese doctors.
Enoch Choi, MD:
I think that may change as they realize the extent of their need
Enoch Choi, MD:
This is what happened when I helped in Katrina, we were able to work by registering in Baton Rouge then going to St Bernard Parish, local officials welcomed our help
Emergency Relief Doctors:
I personally had meetings yesterday with military leaders and the Ishinomaki city and command center city officials - because of the fact that we came to them without trying to tell them what they should be doing but simply offered our assistance and showed honor to them and the things they have been doing and they have opened the doors of opportunity to city officials and volunteer center which has been established at the local university. All in all, they were actually very welcoming.
Enoch Choi, MD:
The last comment was by Randy Roberson, the next comment is by Jesse Mendoza
Emergency Relief Doctors:
This is Jesse Mendoza - I would say that is more on a local level. On a national level the government has put out messages that they are not welcoming foreign aid to come in. On a local level they have been welcoming and happy that we are there.
Ashelen:
I've seen people comparing this incident to Chernobyl; clearly that's an inaccurate comparison. not only are the situations vastly different, but we have better technology to detect radiation and treat exposure....would that be a fair assessment or are the situations comparable at all? are you seeing any initial cases that are reminiscent of what was seen early after Chernobyl?
Enoch Choi, MD:
It is inaccurate, Chernobyl lacked containment and had much greater radiation release.
Enoch Choi, MD:
We are far from Fukushima and have not treated those affected by the nuclear fallout
Enoch Choi, MD:
The next comment is by Randy Roberson
Emergency Relief Doctors:
This is Randy-  With some of the experts that we have been gleaning information from that statement is true. This is far less dramatic than Chernobyl. One of the criticisms I have heard repeatedly is that Chernobyl controlled the problem  by pouring cement on the problem and the Japanese have just started that cementing process yesterday. Many people think that the cement pouring should have started days ago.
allan88:
Dr. Choi, Have you standardized on an EMR to provide a consistent quality of care and analysis?
Enoch Choi, MD:
Thanks to a grant from Epocrates, we are equipped with iPhone4s and iPads which run iChart
Enoch Choi, MD:
That said, we have not started using it, as we did in Haiti to pilot the UN's new disaster relief EMR standard
Enoch Choi, MD:
Documenting our care in future trips with an EMR will help to see what rates of illnesses we took care of, and how we were able to help, over many trips
ChitChatNine:
What type of illnesses are you seeing now?
Enoch Choi, MD:
We are seeing increasing rates of influenza and diarrheal disease
Enoch Choi, MD:
Much injury from cold & exposure
Enoch Choi, MD:
Deaths from lack of chronic illness
Enoch Choi, MD:
medication
Enoch Choi, MD:
irritation frmo the dust affecting eyes & cough
Enoch Choi, MD:
injuries from those trying to get stuff from their destroyed homes
Emergency Relief Doctors:
In regards to the illnesses we have been seeing on the ground, there are varying degrees of medical challenges of just exposure from colds and flu.
Emergency Relief Doctors:
the region has been cold and because much of the power has been out in Ishinomaki everything around this region is down. there is significant infrastructure they need to be working on. There have also been the typical gastrointestinal distress from contaminated water. Now that there are more shipments of bottled water we believe that will be decreasing here soon but as of right now there still has been some significant cases of gastrointestinal distress.
Enoch Choi, MD:
This past was answered by Randy
Emergiblog:
How are the people holding up psychologically; this is such a long term recovery
Emergency Relief Doctors:
There are significant numbers of the usual PTSD reporterd in all of Japan.
Enoch Choi, MD:
Many are stoically holding their grief and PTSD in.  For example this florist who thanked us for their help: http://www.youtube.com/user/cyberjesss#p/u/6/GbwRZTKDVGo
Emergency Relief Doctors:
Much of that initially is due to the fact that many people are still searching for lost loved ones and other people just finally coming to some closure with the confirmation of their loved ones being deceased.
Enoch Choi, MD:
This past comment was from Randy Roberson
Emergency Relief Doctors:
I think the greatest challenge is many people not knowing the outcome of those challenges combined with constant aftershocks and the terror of that combined with the much misinformation of the nuclear radiation releases.