Dozens sickened in Japan after suicide

By | May 27, 2008

Dozens sickened in Japan after suicide

A Japanese farmer who committed suicide by drinking pesticide vomited the poison at a hospital before he died, releasing toxic fumes that sickened more than 50 people, the hospital said Thursday.Doctors were trying to pump the 34-year-old man’s stomach when he threw up, spraying his rescuers with chloropicrin, causing 54 doctors, nurses and patients to develop breathing problems and eye sores.

Ten of them were hospitalized themselves, and 90 hospital personnel had to be called in to help with the emergency Wednesday night, said Tomoko Nagao, spokeswoman for the Red Cross Kumamoto Hospital in southern Japan.

The most severely injured was a 72-year-old pneumonia patient, whose condition worsened after exposure to the fumes, Nagao said. The hospital’s emergency ward was closed and firefighters called in to decontaminate it.

The doctors were not wearing protective gear and were unprepared because the paramedics who brought the farmer to the hospital had not identified the pesticide, said a local police official, speaking on condition of anonymity because of protocol.

The incident came amid a string of suicides in Japan by people mixing household chemicals to create lethal fumes. Many bystanders in recent months have been sickened by fumes that escaped into adjoining rooms, apartments or homes.

Seishi Takamura, a doctor who treated the farmer, said he could not stop coughing after inhaling the fumes, which smelled like chlorine, Kyodo News agency reported.

Chloropicrin is a highly volatile pesticide with a pungent odor that can cause breathing difficulties and sometimes death when inhaled in large amounts. – bb

Talk about passive aggressive!

0 thoughts on “Dozens sickened in Japan after suicide

  1. andrewtokyojapan

    I am a JSCCP clinical psychologist and JFP psychotherapist working in Japan for over 20 years. I would like to put forward a perspective on some of the main reasons behind the unacceptably high suicide numbers Japan

    Mental health professionals in Japan have long known that the reason for the unnecessarily high suicide rate in Japan is due to unemployment, bankruptcies, and the increasing levels of stress on businessmen and other salaried workers who have suffered enormous hardship in Japan since the bursting of the stock market bubble here that peaked around 1997. Until that year Japan had an annual suicide of rate figures between 22,000 and 24,000 each year. Following the bursting of the stock market and the long term economic downturn that has followed here since the suicide rate in 1998 increased by around 35% and since 1998 the number of people killing themselves each year in Japan has consistently remained well over 30,000 each and every year to the present day.

    The current worldwide recession is of course impacting Japan too, so unless very proactive and well funded local and nation wide suicide prevention programs and initiatives are immediately it is very difficult to foresee the governments previously stated intention to reduce the suicide rate to around 23,000 by the year 2016 being achievable. On the contrary the numbers, and the human suffering and the depression and misery that the people who become part of these numbers, have to endure may well stay at the current levels that have persistently been the case here for the last ten years. It could even get worse unless even more is done to prevent this terrible loss of life.

    The current numbers licensed psychiatrists (around 13,000), Japan Society of Certified Clinical Psychologists clinical psychologists (16,732 as of 2007), and Psychiatric Social Workers (39,108 as of 2009) must indeed be increased. In order for professional mental health counseling and psychotherapy services to be covered for depression and other mental illnesses by public health insurance it would seem advisable that positive action is taken to resume and complete the negotiations on how to achieve national licensing for clinical psychologists in Japan through the Ministry of Health, Labour and Welfare and not just the Ministry of Education as is the current situation. These discussions were ongoing between all concerned mental health professional authorities that in the ongoing select committee and ministerial levels that were ongoing during the Koizumi administration. With the current economic recession adding even more hardship and stress in the lives its citizens, now would seem to be a prime opportunity for the responsible Japanese to take a pro-active approach to finally providing government approval for national licensing for clinical psychologists who provide mental health care counseling and psychotherapy services to the people of Japan.

    During these last ten years of these relentlessly high annual suicide rate numbers the English media seems in the main to have done little more than have someone goes through the files and do a story on the so-called suicide forest or internet suicide clubs and copycat suicides (whether cheap heating fuel like charcoal briquettes or even cheaper household cleaning chemicals) without focusing on the bigger picture and need for effective action and solutions. Economic hardship, bankruptcies and unemployment have been the main cause of suicide in Japan over the last 10 years, as the well detailed reports behind the suicide rate numbers that have been issued every year until now by the National Police Agency in Japan show only to clearly if any journalist is prepared to learn Japanese or get a bilingual researcher to do the research to get to the real heart of the tragic story of the long term and unnecessarily high suicide rate problem in Japan.

    Useful telephone number for Japanese residents of Japan who speak Japanese and are feeling depressed or suicidal: Inochi no Denwa (Lifeline Telephone Service):

    Japan & Tokyo:[phone numbers removed-could not be verified – Xeno]

    Andrew Grimes

    Tokyo Counseling Services

    http://tokyocounseling.com/english/

    http://tokyocounseling.com/jp/

    http://www.counselingjapan.com

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