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At ground zero in coastal Japan

first_imgIn the days after a catastrophic earthquake and tsunami struck Japan on March 11, aid streamed in from the outside world — from robots and search dogs to fire crews and radiation experts. Still, the island nation has routinely declined offers of foreign medical aid, citing language barriers and its already robust disaster-relief infrastructure.But there was one exception. Three Harvard emergency medicine physicians joined forces within a day of the disaster, and by March 14 were in northern Japan to help.Their way overseas was eased by the Tokushukai Medical Corp., a major health-sector company. One of its executives is the father of Alisa Suzuki Han, a radiologist at Harvard-affiliated Brigham and Women’s Hospital (BWH). Two members of the ad-hoc team were Japanese. The third, N. Stuart Harris, was American.The team, said Harris, was the only one of American-trained doctors on the scene. With him were Takashi Shiga of Massachusetts General Hospital (MGH) and Kohei Hasegawa, a resident of the Harvard-affiliated Emergency Medicine Residency (MGH/BWH).The Harvard doctors – thanks to colleagues at home covering their shifts – spent about a week in the field. They came back with tales of devastation, resilience, and hope. They also returned with one strong message: Pay attention to the real story.The radiation crisis has captured recent headlines, they said, but the eyes of the world should be on the primary disaster zone. In coastal northern Japan, as many as 25,000 people have died, and many survivors are still suffering from shock and privation.Shiga, who grew up near Tokyo, had visited the lush, forested area and its postcard-pretty islands as a tourist. But when he returned, he found a region seemingly “attacked by a bomb,” he said. “Entire small cities [are] gone.”Takashi Shiga, an attending physician from Massachusetts General Hospital, grew up near Tokyo and had visited the lush, forested area and its postcard-pretty islands as a tourist. But when he returned, he found a region seemingly “attacked by a bomb,” he said. Photo courtesy of Takashi ShigaAn attending physician at MGH, Shiga is also doing a fellowship at Harvard Medical School (HMS) on medical simulation. In that work, he uses specialty mannequins — which blink, have vital signs, and seem to breathe — to teach students about the emotions and uncertainties of real emergencies. When the fellowship is done in August, Shiga plans to return to help in northeastern Japan.The 43-year-old Harris had spent two years in the same area (in Iwate Prefecture) right after college, teaching English in public schools. His primary base was in Iwaizumi, eight miles from the coast. But he also taught in the seaside fishing village of Tanohata, which was scoured into rubble.The three Harvard doctors were posted to Kesennuma, a city ravaged by a rushing wall of water that Harris estimated reached 30 feet tall. The city heights, which are at about 2,000 feet, survived damage, but a broad peninsular plain at sea level was swept clean of houses and small factories. “Things were gone,” said Harris, who traversed the plain to deliver medical care. Left behind, he said, were 8-ton forklifts and concrete trucks, scattered like toys, and at least one deep-sea fishing vessel perched on a broken road.But what the tsunami failed to remove was the quiet reserve, good humor, and resilience of the coastal Japanese.Harris walked the plain one day with a 70-year-old man working for the Japanese Red Cross Society. They passed a patch of flattened concrete. “That was my house,” the man said, and walked on.Harris treated an 84-year-old woman for chest pain. “I’m fine,” she kept saying. But she had lost a daughter and a grandchild to the incursive, penetrating sea.Shiga treated a woman who when the tsunami struck ran toward higher ground with her family, chased by a wall of rushing water. “She turned around, and she was the only one” left, said Shiga.“Why am I living?” she asked him. “Maybe I am living because I can pray for the rest of my family.”The stoical reserve of his patients ran deep, said Shiga. “Unless I asked, they didn’t disclose.”The Harvard team set up in a Kesennuma middle school, where 500 homeless residents slept on cots in the gymnasium, and a few hundred more bunked in empty classrooms. Most were “the very old and the very young,” said Harris, an indicator of the worrisome demographic issues that predated the tsunami. (Before the disaster, a third of Kesennuma’s 73,000 residents were over 65.)The doctors and others established a primary care center and a makeshift emergency room in what was once the school nurse’s office. At night, they slept on the floor of an adjoining conference room — a motley scrum of local nurses, doctors, and public health workers.There was no running water, no power, limited fuel for heating and cooking, and only a satellite phone for communication. “I have been a lot more comfortable sitting on a glacier at 14,000 feet,” said Harris, a veteran outdoorsman and chief of the Division of Wilderness Medicine at HMS.They ate two meals daily, cobbled together in the school kitchen by volunteers. There was always rice, and usually miso soup with tofu or daikon radish.Harris had brought warm clothes, water purification tabs, a sleeping bag, and a week’s worth of PowerBars. “The last thing you want to do,” he said of disaster zones, “is show up and make demands on limited local resources.”Wilderness medicine has a lot to offer in disaster situations — a fact not fully appreciated yet in medical circles, said Harris. It’s the practice of “resource-limited medicine under austere conditions,” he said. “It was useful to have that background.”Harris packed for the week like he was going on a frigid, high-altitude expedition to a mountainous region that he already knew was called “the Tibet of Japan.”The landscape included both reminders of the disaster and reminders that life goes on. When Harris first flew into Tokyo, he quickly went to a staging point downtown (“where I felt my first earthquake,” he said), and soon was trying to get some sleep in the back of an ambulance, one of the only class of vehicles with free passage from the military on the earthquake-disrupted roads leading north. Snow fell steadily. The surrounding countryside was untouched by the coastal devastation.Harris alighted in Sendai, the capital of Miyagi Prefecture. The dark, the snow, and the thought of the breached nuclear plants at Fukushima just to the south “cast a pall over things for the week,” said Harris, who developed his powers of observation at the Iowa Writers’ Workshop, where he earned an M.F.A. before deciding to attend medical school. He compared devastated coastal Japan to scenes from Cormac McCarthy’s post-apocalyptic novel “The Road.”Shiga and Harris discussed the low-key emergency medicine they practiced in Kesennuma. The crush injuries of a common earthquake were largely absent, or those that suffered them were already dead, and swept away. There were cuts, sprains, and soft-tissue injuries, but also the chronic illnesses that primary care doctors normally treat. Local doctors’ offices were gone, said Harris, so the ad-hoc medical team also dealt with blood pressure issues, diabetes, and kidney disease. Before long, 42 patients in need of dialysis were evacuated.Another Boston-area specialist on hand was Japanese-born nurse practitioner Nahoko Harada, a pre-doctoral fellow and research assistant at Boston College. Her Facebook page now has a photo of the medical team in Japan, along with a button that reads “Pray for Japan.”Nahoko Harada, a Japanese-born nurse practitioner and Boston College pre-doctoral fellow, on a medical round in Kesennuma.Shiga treated patients who were cold, sleepless, constipated, or who had minor injuries. In many ways, medical care wasn’t the main point, he said. “Mainly we were there to show them the world is interested in helping them, [to] bring hope to them. That was our main mission.”Kesennuma was Shiga’s first brush with disaster medicine. He learned a powerful lesson right away. “Disaster relief is not only [about] trying to deal with trauma,” he said of responders. “We need to get there so people can maintain their hope.” Bedside visit In the Buddhist temple in Kesennuma — a temporary hospital after the disaster — an elderly man lies down, suffering without his medications. To the far left is Harvard-affiliated emergency physician Takashi Shiga. To the far right is Japanese-born nurse practitioner Nahoko Harada, a pre-doctoral fellow at Boston College. Mayday A wrecked fishing vessel, swept inland by the tsunami, perches on a roadway on a sea-level peninsula in Kesennuma. Before the disaster this fishing center was the shark fin capital of Japan. Making do The gymnasium of a middle school in Kesennuma, where 500 residents made homeless by the tsunami bedded down every night. The school nurse’s office was the site of a temporary emergency room and clinic. Diving into the wreck Mud, trash, and wrecked houses were swept a mile inland by the tsunami that struck Kesennuma and a swath of coastal Japan. Nearby, a Buddhist temple stood untouched. It was on land a mere foot higher in elevation.center_img Mission Japan Lifesavers Nahoko Harada (from left), Kohei Hasegawa, Takashi Shiga, city resident (and kitchen organizer) Shota Miura, and N. Stuart Harris stand outside the Kesennuma middle school that housed an ad-hoc emergency clinic. Helping hand A 70-year-old Kesennuma resident, volunteering with the Japanese Red Cross Society, hefts two medical kits while accompanying a Harvard physician on a medical round on the sea-level plain scoured by the tsunami. The man had just passed the remains of his own house.last_img read more


8th Graders Take Care of Local Roads Cleaning Up Garbage

first_imgAddThis Sharing ButtonsShare to FacebookFacebookShare to TwitterTwitterShare to MoreAddThis8th Graders of Mrs. Romel’s Science class got down and dirty to help keep Alpena clean.The students participated in a community service project and the Thunder Bay Junior High’s ‘Pride Program,’ which stands for: “Personal Responsibility of Our Community.” Mrs. Romel said it’s important to teach students to care about their community while they are young. “I think that it’s important for students to show their pride and ownership in whatever they do. For them to be able to experience how to give back to the community in such a small way of cleaning up an intersection I think that’s a sphere head for future engagements, and giving back,” Romel said.Becoming inspired by her own hobby, Adopt a Highway; Mrs. Romel said doing service starts within your own home.“Well you know it starts with pride in your own home, and outside your home. You just give you don’t have to ask to do something and so if you start from a very young age they feel that reward, that gratification that they’ve done something good. When students drive by that intersection they’re going to know that they helped clean it up and in the future they will take more pride in their community around their home and not have to have their parents ask them to do things, they will naturally do it,” Romel added.Thunder Bay Junior High seems to stay very busy when it comes to community service. 6th Graders clean up the beach, and other students help maintain the local trails.AddThis Sharing ButtonsShare to FacebookFacebookShare to TwitterTwitterShare to MoreAddThis Tags: Adopt a Highway, Garbage, Local Roads, Thunder Bay Junior HighContinue ReadingPrevious Alpena ‘Get’s Growing’ With Chamber Annual BreakfastNext 6th Graders of Thunder Bay Junior High Travel to Lafarge for an Educational Triplast_img read more


Black Queens set for tourney in Namibia

first_imgGhana’s female national football team, the Black Queens arrived in Windhoek, the Namibian capital last weekend to participate in the CAF 2014 tournament.They were met at the airport by staff of the Ghana High Commission and the Namibian Football Association (NFA).On Monday, Ghana’s High Commissioner to Namibia, H. E. Alhaji A Harruna Attah and staff of the High Commission visited them at their training grounds in Windhoek, to welcome them and give them words of encouragement.The High Commissioner assured them of the Mission’s fullest support and wished them the best of luck. The championship gets underway at the Sam Nujoma Stadium on Saturday, 11 October at 17h00 with hosts Namibia taking on Zambia in the opening match in Group A.The Queens take to the field on Sunday 12th October, 2014 with ‘Les Fennecs Dames’ of Algeria.last_img read more


Sunday blog: Some of the things you will probably see in 2014

first_img3. City level…When it comes to the city of Wellington, 2014 will be much like 2013, and 2012, and 2011… and that means making budget.Here are two issues, though, that will be huge in 2014 and they start with the letter “H”: hospital and hotel.2013 was not a newsworthy year for Sumner Regional Medical Center, which is a good thing. No news is good news for the premiere medical institution in Sumner County.But 2014 may not be so un-newsworthy. Of course, there is SRMC’s mounting debt as was outlined in September. A quarter-cent sales tax was retired in December, which will take away another source of funding to the operation. Another sales-tax referendum may end up on a special ballot in April. The Wellington voters have shown in years past to be very supportive of SRMC. The problem with this is, how long can the hospital keep going back to the voters, before there is a revolt.It will be interesting to see how ObamaCare (there’s that word again) will affect small rural hospitals, and the closing of the Wellington Family Clinic has most certainly not helped SRMC as far as admissions are concerned.2014 will be about survival. I shudder to think what Wellington would be like without a hospital.On an issue that doesn’t seem nearly as pressing but is still important to the community will be the hotel situation.Oak Tree Inn appears to be in the process of building more hotel rooms. But that is tempered by the fact that those rooms will be used mostly for BNSF railroad workers. That still does not address the lack of hotel lodging for transient commercial traffic. Wellington City Manager Gus Collins said there were four different development groups looking at the Wellington area in 2013. The city council has offered some lucrative tax breaks and services to spur the growth of a lodging business.Still no holes were dug in 2013. Stay tuned. This will remain a big issue in 2014. 5. Local level…Sumner County will continue its epic need to survive both financially and autonomously. At the moment farm income is good, the railroad appears to be doing well, and there is no hint of any dire news with the aircraft industry. Kansas Star Casino traffic is down and another casino is about to erected south of the Kansas-Oklahoma border. It makes one wonder if the casino we fought so hard to get in the last decade, was worth the trouble.Downtown Wellington will probably always struggle. But I was thinking the other day that things were looking up for the area with a lot of new blood. New businesses such as The Dore, Barefoot Jerry’s and Wynne Wellness have given the area a much more modern look. Wellington Sears impending move to downtown should help generate more traffic in the area.Let’s hope these businesses can keep going and you the reader keep patronizing these businesses. This is true capitalism at work here.The courthouse will continue be a flurry of activity with good guys putting bad guys away. Kudos to Sumner County Attorney Kerwin Spencer who helped file 492 criminal cases at the courthouse in 2013 compared to 311 in 2012.As far Sumner Newscow goes, I hope to keep providing you with valid news for the area. I’ll miss a couple of news stories so help me out by tipping the Cow at [email protected] New Years Sumner County readers. May your 2014 be a good one. Close Forgot password? Please put in your email: Send me my password! Close message Login This blog post All blog posts Subscribe to this blog post’s comments through… RSS Feed Subscribe via email Subscribe Subscribe to this blog’s comments through… RSS Feed Subscribe via email Subscribe Follow the discussion Comments (5) Logging you in… Close Login to IntenseDebate Or create an account Username or Email: Password: Forgot login? Cancel Login Close WordPress.com Username or Email: Password: Lost your password? Cancel Login Dashboard | Edit profile | Logout Logged in as Admin Options Disable comments for this page Save Settings Sort by: Date Rating Last Activity Loading comments… You are about to flag this comment as being inappropriate. Please explain why you are flagging this comment in the text box below and submit your report. The blog admin will be notified. Thank you for your input. +11 Vote up Vote down Hmmm….. · 345 weeks ago Most small town hospitals are on the tax train. Take the time to look at other surrounding city’s and you will find some kind of funding by the taxpayers. We the people are making this the center of all tax conversation. This really a no brainier, this tax is worth keeping. Fixing the roads would be nice, but you have to be alive to drive on them. Pop a tire you can fix it. Have a stroke, drive to the hospital where they maybe able to save your life, or call 911 and hope there is enough staff to take you Wichita. I think I’m going to good old SRMC. Report Reply 0 replies · active 345 weeks ago +1 Vote up Vote down anon · 345 weeks ago “Like I predicted last week, the federal government will be fixing its own ObamaCare screw-ups from now to eternity.”—just like the fed govt is still fixing its own social security and medicare screw ups….huh, that’s not happening??? your worst nightmare will be realized in 2014 and beyond as obamacare will be successfully implemented. Report Reply 0 replies · active 345 weeks ago 0 Vote up Vote down WHS Grad · 345 weeks ago “Adams said Wellington will no longer have in school ‘honors’ classes, and will base the top tier class rankings on curriculum based on the Kansas Scholars Board of Regents.” (July 3, 2013 Sumner Newscow) On August 26, 2013, within one week of the new school year, there was already an assignment for an honors class at WHS. http://hollas.whs.usd353.com/modules/blog/viewPos… Now, “…Wellington appears to be moving toward a new honors system offering national advanced placement courses to its students provided it can find teachers to teach these courses.” Honors classes do exist even after the statement has been made that they will not. Discussion for honors classes has occurred at some point, yet board minutes are not up to date to inform the public. How many, “executive session to discuss non-elected personnel”, meetings with, “no binding action taken”, will be necessary for the school board to, “find teachers to teach these courses”? Report Reply 2 replies · active 345 weeks ago +2 Vote up Vote down Sumner County · 345 weeks ago All local governments seem to abuse the executive session rules. As I understand executive session can only be used if personnel or their personal pay is discussed. This rule is abused by all school boards, city and county commissions. Open meetings have become jokes. Report Reply 0 Vote up Vote down Maggie · 345 weeks ago The wording of the assignment in the link you provided suggests that there is not a honors class for the subject, but that some students within the class are doing additional “honors” work. I went to school under a system like that, and it didn’t work very well. Students who excelled in the given subject were held back by the students who struggled, and the honors assignments only meant extra work, not necessarily more challenging work. Substituting AP classes for honors classes is probably not a good solution, either. When I took AP classes, there were significant additional costs to the student. (For example supplementary texts for AP History, which students had to purchase) plus the fee to take the AP exam (which was optional, but necessary to get credit for the course beyond high school) Report Reply Post a new comment Enter text right here! Comment as a Guest, or login: Login to IntenseDebate Login to WordPress.com Login to Twitter Go back Tweet this comment Connected as (Logout) Email (optional) Not displayed publicly. Name Email Website (optional) Displayed next to your comments. Not displayed publicly. If you have a website, link to it here. Posting anonymously. Tweet this comment Submit Comment Subscribe to None Replies All new comments Comments by IntenseDebate Enter text right here! Reply as a Guest, or login: Login to IntenseDebate Login to WordPress.com Login to Twitter Go back Tweet this comment Connected as (Logout) Email (optional) Not displayed publicly. Name Email Website (optional) Displayed next to your comments. Not displayed publicly. If you have a website, link to it here. Posting anonymously. Tweet this comment Cancel Submit Comment Subscribe to None Replies All new comments Commentary by Tracy McCue — Five Cueball thoughts for Dec. 29, 2013…What does the Cue-Crystal-Ball see in the year 2014 ahead? Well, there will be unforeseen mayhem in the Middle East, Justin Bieber will be in trouble for something, and somebody will get suspended for something for saying something not politically correct. Other than that all bets are off.Here are the highlights that I foresee will headline the year on a national, state, city, school and local level from a Wellington perspective… 1. National level…The implementation of the Affordable Care Act, i.e. ObamaCare, is expected to dominate the news, and the first of the many bailouts caused by this atrocious federal legislation could very well already occur in 2014.Syndicated columnist Charles Krauthammer made a dire prediction: ObamaCare will ruin insurance companies therefore the White House will ask for a huge government bailout of these companies.On the other hand, another conservative commenter, Noel Sheppard, said the losses to insurance companies will be large, but not so much that a bailout is likely. He thinks the companies will just raise the costs of our premiums to make up the difference, thus destroying the whole premise of Obamacare (see story here) Like I predicted last week, the federal government will be fixing its own ObamaCare screw-ups from now to eternity. 2. State level….The election of 2014 is coming and the state of Kansas will be at civil war. You may want to move to New Zealand or someplace very far away. You’ve been warned.This will be one of the most contentious Kansas state elections in history. Kansas Governor Sam Brownback is seeking re-election. His popularity amongst his critics ranges slightly in between Attila the Hun and Adolf Hitler. But he is also a hero to many for his unwavering convictions of small government politics.Brownback’s tax cut initiatives have received national attention and the country will be watching. Both sides will be seeking validation. What does this mean? In this era of free wielding political spending, that means a lot of money is going to flow into the coffers of the Kansas Governor Campaign on both sides of the aisle.The schools, realtors and others will be waiting in opposition. Paul Davis, minority leader of the Kansas House of Representative, has declared his candidacy as the Democrat candidate. Can a Democrat win in Kansas, especially during a time of Barack Obama and ObamaCare? It will be an uphill climb. It will take the full support of Democrats and moderate Republicans and even some well meaning conservatives to unseat Brownback. That group can’t be split or it’s clear sailing for the current Kansas Governor.There will be a lot of money spent on this campaign.For you who despise mean-spirited politics, here is my word of advice. Run for your lives. 4. School level…The school boards throughout Sumner County will have the daunting task of dealing with an ever-shrinking amount of money coming from the state of Kansas thanks in part because of the Brownback budget cuts.I’m not equipped at this moment to tell you exactly what could happen with the school districts to combat this issue. I anticipate school consolidation will become a bigger issue in 2014. Will a school like Argonia be able to survive? Will heated rival schools Caldwell and South Haven become one school district after all?As far as bigger schools such as Wellington is concerned, what kind of budget cuts can be made? The USD 353 retirement program is currently on a respirator, and I anticipate someone is going to have to pull the plug.As far as other issues are concerned, Wellington appears to be moving toward a new honors system offering national advanced placement courses to its students provided it can find teachers to teach these courses. This will be a good thing. Also, there will be the issue concerning the Wellington Junior High building and whether it can be sold.If it is not sold, can USD 353 afford to keep the building open?And if it is sold, what type of facilities need to be built such as locker rooms? Sellers Park has some issues. The football field was a mess in 2013. A lot of those kind of things will need to be addressed in the year ahead.last_img read more


WATCH: Heart Wrenching Video of Child Threatening to Kill Himself over Bullying

first_imgEric Trump and Megyn Kelly also sent messages of support. People around the world have already donated more than 140-thousand dollars so Quaden can go to Disneyland. A nine-year-old Australian boy’s pleas to give him a knife so he can kill himself due to cruel bullying is going viral. https://www.850wftl.com/wp-content/uploads/2020/02/Bullied-kid.mp3Quaden Bayles was born with a condition that causes dwarfism and was filmed by his mother crying and saying he wanted a knife so he could kill himself. Fellow Australian Hugh Jackman offered his friendship, sending Quaden a personal video telling the boy he’s stronger than he knows and that bullying is not OK. last_img