Saitama man, 75, turned away by 25 hospitals before dying


A 75-year-old Saitama man died after 25 hospitals refused to admit him to their emergency rooms 36 times over two hours, citing lack of beds or doctors to treat him, an official said Tuesday.

The man, who lived alone in Kuki, Saitama Prefecture, called an ambulance after suffering breathing problems at his home in January.

Paramedics rushed to his house but all 25 hospitals in the area told them, some more than once, that they could not accept the man because they did not have enough doctors or any free beds, a local city official said.

The ambulance eventually made a 20-minute drive to a hospital in Ibaraki Prefecture, but the man was pronounced dead shortly after arrival. The cause of death has not been made public.

One of the paramedics said they had never experienced “a patient being rejected so many times.”

The city of Kuki has asked hospitals in the region to improve their emergency room capacity, the official said.

Public health care is heavily subsidized and generally of a high global standard.

But commentators warn that with a population that is living longer and with fewer young people entering the workforce, health care providers could become increasingly strained over the coming decades.

  • E. Arborea

    This is a disgusting commentary on the medical profession in Japan. Shameful and evil.

  • RoyalRubbish

    I love how ambulances in Japan drive the speed limit and stop at red light(even with lights flashing and someone obviously in the back). I remember reading about a pregnant woman who had this same thing happen a year or two again — she bled to death in the ambulance. No real doctor or medical provider would ever say “no.” And so help me Flying Spaghetti Monster, but if I had a loved one on the verge of death, I’d break the doors down myself and MAKE SURE they get help.

    • Aleenik

      Ambulances in Japan are taxis and nothing more. It’s pretty sad.:(