Témoignage lu sur un groupe d’expatriés sur le Covid-19 à Tokyo. C’est inquiétant et c’est la preuve que ce pays ne peut pas être cru quand aux chiffres. Pas de lits, peu d’unités de réanimation ni de soins intensifs, pas de tests, et pire, un refus des hôpitaux de prendre en charge les malades, ce qui, si c’était avéré, mériterait un d’énonciation aux instances sanitaires internationales.
EDIT: This is the post of an expat from another group. She’s describing her personal experience of guiding another expat friend through the task of getting medical attention for a probable case of COVID-19 in Japan.
« One of my good friends probably has corona. Her Japanese is about conversational level, which made getting treatment 100x more difficult. I was on the phone throughout most of the process helping with translation. Here is what happened:
4/14 Tuesday: I get a call from my friend at 11pm. She’s wheezing, having trouble breathing, loopy from lack of oxygen, sore throat and a fever that’s lasted 4 days. Pretty much checks every box for corona.
The English support corona hotline isn’t open so I phone the Japanese one. Number is 03-532-4592. I have to call 3-4 times before anyone picks up; line is pretty busy. I explain her situation to the operator. The operator recommends I have my friend call the Himawari English support line. I explain that the situation is urgent and we can’t wait until morning. They « sho ga nai » me as politely as possible and hang up.
My friend is unsure whether she should call an ambulance, or try finding an emergency clinic that’s open. I spend 1 hour looking for nearby clinics for her, and calling them to see if they accept covid patients. I call 3 clinics, all of which refuse to see her. At this point my friend’s breathing is a bit more normal and she decides to go to bed, and will try to get to a doctor in the morning.
4/15 Wednesday: My friend’s symptoms are similar to yesterday. She calls the English line at 9am. They give her a referral to a nearby clinic, where she gets her chest x-rayed. The doctor suspect it’s covid-19, but because her blood oxygen level isn’t low enough to require a ventilator, they don’t test her. They give her some anti-mucus medication and send her home.
4/16 Thursday: I get a call from my friend at 11:30pm. She’s in an ambulance and sounds much worse than before. She can barely say a full sentence without launching into a minute long coughing fit. I am put on speakerphone to explain her situation to the EMTS (how she’s already had a chest x-ray done and how her symptoms have gotten worse).
It took 2 hours for her to be admitted to a hospital. I stayed on the phone with my friend, listening as the EMTs called over 15 different hospitals to ask for permission to bring in a covid patient. As this is going on my friend’s breathing gets rapidly worse. She asks me to ask them why they haven’t found a hospital yet, and to tell them that it’s getting harder and harder to breathe.
They tell me that hospitals with other patients in the waiting area cannot accept covid patients..and even if there’s no one there, some hospitals are not accepting covid patients at all due to staff risk of infection. They can’t do much to help her breathing.
At 1:30am she finally checks into the hospital. They do another x-ray, and I’m put on speaker phone again to speak with the doctor examining her. Here is how the conversation went:
Him: We can perform a blood test but that won’t tell us much aside from eliminating other possible causes of her symptoms. I recommend she get a PCR test done tomorrow afternoon.
Me: Ok, can we schedule the PCR test now?
Him: No, we don’t perform PCR tests at this hospital. You need to call her ward’s 保健所 in the morning and request a PCR test.
Me: We have had a lot of difficulty in the past getting proper medical attention. I’m worried that they will refuse to test her. Would you be able to provide a letter of introduction or doctor’s note so we can bypass all of the questioning?
Him: no, I don’t think they will say no.
Me: I think they will. Can you provide your contact information so we have you as a reference?
Him: No, that won’t be necessary.
I tried arguing with him for about 40 minutes before giving up.
My friend’s blood oxygen wasn’t low enough to warrant being hospitalized/put on a ventilator, so she’s sent home with more anti-mucus medication. She’s worried about cabbing home, as it would expose the driver. The staff says they’ll call a taxi for her and that she just needs to roll all the windows down.
4/17 Friday: At noon my friend wakes up and asks if I can call her ward’s 保健所 and make a PCR test appointment for her. I call them at 12:30.
It took 2 HOURS to set up a PCR test.
As I expected, the staff was INCREDIBLY resistant to offer a test, and spent 2 hours asking me 100 questions about her symptoms, what treatment she had received so far, what hospital she went to the night before, name of the doctor who recommended her a test etc.
I’m put on hold for an extra hour as they sort their things out.
They finally call me back and tell me all of the information for her test. But here’s the kicker. It’s a secret location. It’s a medical facility that’s currently closed, but is being used as a corona testing site on the downlow. To enter the building, she’ll have to walk through the parking lot and use the staff entrance.
The woman on the phone makes me promise not to tell ANYONE other than my friend the name of the place where she is being tested. Because if people knew they were doing testing there it would « cause a commotion. »
I really wish I was making that last part up. It’s absolutely horrific how much they are trying to cover this up and keep the official numbers low.
I am currently waiting for them to call again with her test results.
Getting her tested required 1 ambulance ride, two visits to the hospital and 5+ hours on the phone. This is ridiculous and something needs to change. »