Editor: This hospital is commonly known as Kami Byoin or Kami
Hospital. When my daughter was born there in the shockingly dirty and old,
East side building in 1999, one of the windows on the entrance door
was broken with a large hole allowing the winter air to come into
the hospital unimpeded.
I understand that now (2006) they are no longer using the old East side
building. They are using the modern and very clean West side building only.
Personally I have always found the staff at Kami Hospital professional
and top notch. It was the old and dirty East building that bothered me.
The staff never did.
The story below occurred in about 1999--Editor
If you are in need of a doctor in Japan, DO NOT
go to the Ashigarakami-gun hospital in Matsuda! This
hospital has not made it into the modern era. It is dirty,
and very smelly (the toilets are top 10 worst in
Japan, and the smell of tobacco smoke was very strong).
We often read about nurses and patients in Japan
becoming infected with various diseases while IN a
hospital. Well, now I know why. Recently a friend of mine
had to get a basic check-up/physical. Here are some
of the events that occured that day, in her own
1. "The eye test was first and they couldn't
quite figure out what to write in the space that said
'Vision: Right eye 20/____ Left eye 20/____'."
"Now, to internal medicine where I'm honoured by the
presence of a twelve year old doctor (okay an exaggeration
but you get the drift) who pretty much figures he is
God. He is very arrogant and doesn't have a clue what
to do to me. I try to explain (through a Japanese
interpreter) about the blood tests I need, to prove I have
immunities to measles and mumps, but he has no idea what we
are talking about. I give up on trying to get those
tests, but I still need a TB test and a booster for
Tetanus/Diphtheria/Polio and a physical examination. He says ok."
For the blood test: "Anyway, just as I'm about to sit
down, a man who has just had his blood taken and
doesn't hold the little cotton swab long enough to have
the blood clot, comes back into the room with blood
dripping down his arm and all over the floor and just
walks up to where I am sitting ------ BLOOD DRIPPING
!!!!! Someone scurries from around the table with a few
cotton swabs and begins wiping up the blood - no gloves,
no disinfectant, no clue!!!! Another nurse suddenly
stops and gets some gloves for the woman and she sort
of reluctantly puts them on. The other nurse wipes
the blood from the man's arm and says okay hold this
cotton here and wait for a bit over there. She still
hasn't put on any gloves, washed her hands or anything!!
She calls me back because I have basically run from
the room where they are handling blood products so
carelessly and she says she's ready for me now, just sit
down. I'm freaking out and I won't have any blood taken
until they disinfect the table, she puts on some gloves
and I can see that a new needle has been taken out of
the package. (The guy dripped on the one they were
going to use on me!!) The nurse looks at me like I'm
from Mars. Finally, they chalk it up to "Stupid
Foreigner" and do as I ask."
3. "Back to the doctor for
the physical. So, I sit down, he gets out his
stethoscope, listens, takes my blood pressure, tells me to say
Ahhhh, and that's it ---- physical examination
4. "Then, we finally get it through to him that I
still need the TB test and Tetanus booster. He gets the
stuff, has the needle to my arm and then kind of looks
around, all stunned and says to the nurse - 'What is this
and how much am I supposed to give to
Do we really live in one of the most advanced
nations on earth? Sometimes I wonder. If you know of any
good hospitals/doctors, please recommend them. Any
places to avoid, let us know. This is one area that is
too important to take chances with!
The above was originally posted by Kaisei at the Odawara Bulletin Board
More on the Outbreak & Kami Hospital
Kami Hospital is rather infamous at this
point. A few months ago it made the national news
as many babies all became sick at the same time.
One side of the hospital is very new and modern, but the
other is old and will be rebuilt soon. We were
shocked as our daughter was born there just two months
before the outbreak. I don't know the translation of
what the babies caught but it was a bit dangerous I
understand. All the babies recovered to my knowledge.
Although the East side of Kami Hospital is certainly old and shockingly
dirty, the West side is not. They staff have always been very
professional in my opinion and I come from a medical family in
Canada. My brother and father are doctors.
I got an MRI, and various tests at Kami
hospital (West side) a while back and they were all done with
professionalism. Moreover, our son had croup which was very scary,
and we felt the care he received was very good, and
the nurses and doctors were kind. I think once the
new wing is built things will improve. It sounds
like your friend ran into some bad luck. It's too
In some of the hospitals in Japan you will have to deal
with cigarette smoke unfortunately. But most are pretty clean other
than that and have high standards. Shiritsu
Hospital in Odawara is famous. There used to be a problem with
cigarette smoke but that seems to have been put out.
by Kevin Burns