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J.Jpn. Surg. Soc.. 113(2): 241-251, 2012
OPERATING ROOM DURING NATURAL DISASTER: LESSONS FROM THE 2011 TOHOKU EARTHQUAKE
Objectives. Objective of this study is to clarify damages in operating rooms after the 2011 Tohoku Earthquake.
Method. To survey structural and non-structural damage in operating theaters, we sent questionnaires to 155 acute care hospitals in Tohoku area.
Results. Questionnaires were sent back from 105 hospitals (70.3%). Total of 280 patients were undergoing any kinds of operations during the earthquake and severe seismic tremor greater than JMA Seismic Intensity 6 hit 49 hospitals. Operating room staffs experienced life-threatening tremor in 41 hospitals. Blackout occurred but emergency electronic supply unit worked immediately in 81 out of 90 hospitals. However, emergency power plant did not work in 9 hospitals. During earthquake some materials fell from shelves in 44 hospitals and medical instruments fell down in 14 hospitals. In 5 hospitals, they experienced collapse of operating room wall or ceiling causing inability to maintain sterile operative field. Damage in electric power and water supply plus damage in logistics made many operating rooms difficult to perform routine surgery for several days.
Conclusions. The 2011 Tohoku earthquake affected medical supply in wide area of Tohoku district and induced dysfunction of operating room. Supply-chain management of medical goods should be reconsidered to prepare severe natural disaster.
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