Takeki Suzuki, MD, MPH
Note: Dr. Suzuki is a member of the Young Physicians Committee of the ACP Japan Chapter.
Requests for Single Reprints: Takeki Suzuki, MD, MPH, Department of Cardiovascular Medicine, University of Tokyo Graduate School of Medicine, 7-3-1 Hongo, Bunkyo-ku, Tokyo 113-8655, Japan; e-mail, firstname.lastname@example.org.
Suzuki T. The Gift That Comes With Tragedy. Ann Intern Med. 2011;155:196-197. doi: 10.7326/0003-4819-155-3-201108020-00011
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Published: Ann Intern Med. 2011;155(3):196-197.
It was an ordinary Friday afternoon. I was working on my research at a university hospital in Tokyo when the earthquake hit eastern Japan. I initially thought that it would be like others I had experienced, which usually lasted for only a few seconds. That was not the case with this one. It lasted longer than a minute and was severe enough to prompt me to run from the old building I was in to a parking space outside. This was the worst I had ever experienced. It felt like I was standing on a train beginning to move, then stopping, then moving again. The swaying of the buildings went on for several minutes and seemed to last an eternity. The first earthquake was followed a few minutes later by strong aftershocks. Once the aftershocks seemed to calm down, I went to the hospital's catheterization laboratory and talked with a physician who had performed a percutaneous coronary intervention during the earthquake. Fortunately, all patients were safely evacuated. Disaster preparedness had helped avoid tragedy in the catheterization laboratory.
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