Medical - 15. Emergency (night-time, holidays) | Lectures for Foreign Students on Disaster Control | JPSS, the information site of studying in Japan

Medical - 15. Emergency (night-time, holidays) | Lectures for Foreign Student...

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Emergency (night-time, holidays)

When abroad, getting sick or having an accident will make you feel very nervous. You'll be worried about; how to see a doctor, how to communicate in a foreign language in the hospital, how much the cost will be, who is going to take care of you etc. Moreover, because you'll catch a disease or get involved in an accident unexpectedly, there is no way to be informed beforehand. If the pain is bearable, you could afford the time to look for a hospital and go there the next day. But depending on your situation, you might need a urgent help to get to a hospital. To add to your anxiety to see a doctor in a foreign country, in an emergency you'll get into a panic.

Here, we'll show what to do when you meet with an accident, how to call the ambulance and about the night-time and holidays' medical treatment.

If you were in a life-threatening condition, call an ambulance immediately. See the following instruction.

  • 1. Call "119".
  • 2. You'll be asked "Fire or Emergency?" So, answer: "emergency".
  • 3. Next, explain the situation correctly: what happened, when and where it happened, who is in trouble and the condition of that person right now.
  • 4. Tell them where you are (address or any building easy to find nearby), your name and your phone number.
  • 5. Ask what to do until an ambulance arrives.
  • 6. Now, follow the instruction and wait.
  • 7. When the ambulance arrives, tell the staff about the situation. It will be nice if someone accompanies the emergency patient. In that case, to take money and insurance card may help.

By the way, recently some people call the ambulance in a situation not that serious. For that reason, it is reported that in some cases the ambulance couldn't take action immediately and their arrival was delayed. The Tokyo Fire Department says: "Ambulance is the service to take the sick and injured to the hospital in an emergency. If one calls the ambulance not in an emergency, it is possible for us not being able to save the other who really needed help. If you aren't in a life-threatening condition, please use other transport to go to the hospital."

Then, in what kind of condition do we call the ambulance? To help this, the Tokyo Fire Department offers an "Emergency Consultation Center" to whom we may ask.

*"Emergency Consultation Center" phone: #7119 (24 hours, 365 days).

They will give you instruction such as: in what situation we need or don't need to call the ambulance, what kind of first-aid is needed, where the open hospital is and so on. Please call if you are in trouble.

Moreover, each fire station in Tokyo helps you find an emergency hospital by phone.

However, in the following situations, please call an ambulance immediately. You'll not be charged for this.

  • 1. not breathing, no pulse or unconscious
  • 2. bleeding heavily
  • 3. being cramped for more than 10 minutes
  • 4. other obviously serious illness, not being able to move etc.


Medical institutions are usually closed on Sundays, holidays and at the end and the beginning of the year. Also, there are some hospitals taking summer vacation during the Bon Festival (in the mid August) or not offering service on Saturdays in the afternoon. In addition, the usual office hours are from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m.

Therefore, large hospitals offer emergency examination for the outpatients during night-time and holidays. However, not all of the institutions offer this service. The Web Site of the Tokyo Fire Department carries the list of emergency hospitals.

Moreover, in Tokyo "Metropolitan Information Service for Medical Institutions: Himawari" offers audio service by phone.
Phone number: 03-5272-0303 (24 hours open).

When in emergency, you'll not be able to look for a medical institution in that situation. Therefore, we recommend you to check the institutions with emergency examination service in your neighborhood, and take notes. Moreover, please make sure you keep your insurance card with you.

The important point is that emergency examination for the outpatients does not mean "24/7 hospital". It is possible that special doctor is absent or there aren't sufficient numbers of doctors during those hours, which means in some cases you'll not get enough treatment. If you need to have a medical treatment in an emergency, please call the institution first and tell your situation, and then check if you really have to get treated right away.

In the emergency examination, you'll only get the first-aid and simple check from the doctor on duty. And you'll be told to come the next day to get the special doctor's examination.

By the way, when you call a hospital to get emergency examination, sometimes you'll be rejected for no doctor being available at that moment. Therefore we recommend you to check the contact phone number of more than one hospital.


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