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Straight Off The Bone – Hisashi Ouchi And The Tokaimura Nuclear Accident

Hisashi Ouchi worked at the Tokaimura Nuclear Power Plant in Japan which is operated by the JCO company.

On September 30, 1999 Ouchi and two other men was exposed to extremely high levels of radiation while pouring filtered uranium solution from a stainless steel bucket. The testing room was filled with what is known in nuclear physics as the Cherenkov Light, a phenomenon that occurs once criticality is reached. Ouchi is the one holding the funnel.

Kazuhiko Maekawa, University of Tokyo Department of Medicine Professor stated that, “Ouchi did not look like a critical patient from any angle.” Ouchi was taken by helicopter to the National Institute of Radiological Sciences in Chiba for emergency care.

Ouchi’s condition deteriorated over the next few months until his death 83 days later. The mortality rate for receiving the amount of radiation that he received was well over 100%. There was no hope for this man. Even his chromosomes were destroyed.

Despite his chromosomes having irreversible damage, Dr. Maekawa desperately tried to save Ouchi’s skin from falling off by grafting new skin from Ouchi’s only sister.

By day 63 neither Ouchi’s heart or lungs functioned properly, his brain no longer reacted to stimuli and he could not maintain blood pressure. At this point Ouchi was being kept alive by large quantities of medicine and machines. On day 83 Ouchi at 35-years-old. The official cause of death was “multiple organ dysfunction” and the medical examiner noted that “his intestines were swollen like a withering snake.


Hosted by
Jon Perry

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  • This blows my mind that any doctor or family member could watch someone break down like this. I would never be able to let a family member suffer in this agony for so long. I myself wouldn’t want to suffer for so long. In this case he definitely should have been told of his full condition and also I think this is a situation for assisted suicide although I know the Japanese culture would never do that. Although his heart was strong if none of his other organs are working there is no way for him to live. Such a tragic case

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