Have you ever thought about it?

The “life” of the person who protects the life March 11, 7:03

"How should we think about the 'life' of those who protect lives..."

is a big question since the Great East Japan Earthquake.

In hospitals and nursing homes, even if a disaster occurs, there are patients and people who need nursing care who cannot escape on their own.

At that time, doctors and nurses are forced to make a big decision between "the life in front of them" and "their own lives."

This time, we interviewed Ishinomaki Municipal Ogatsu Hospital.

A total of 64 people, including 24 doctors and nurses who remained in the hospital and 40 inpatients, were killed by the tsunami because they could not leave the hospitalized patients such as the elderly who could not move on their own.

Why did the staff stay at the hospital that day?

This is a question about life left by Ogatsu Hospital.

(Ogatsu Hospital coverage group)

A town hospital by the sea

Two hours by car from Sendai, Ogatsu-cho, Ishinomaki City faces the Pacific Ocean and features a ria coastline.

The site where Ogatsu Hospital used to be is now a vacant lot, and a memorial monument stood there.

The names of those who lost their lives at this place are engraved on the memorial.

March 11, 2011 What happened at Ogatsu Hospital on that day?

At that time, Ogatsu Hospital had 40 bedridden patients who could barely move on their own.

The hospital rooms with a view of the sea were always full, and the voices of the nurses caring for the patients in the familiar Hamagoto language and the conversations with the residents who came to visit them echoed in the hospital, making it a lively place.

March 11, 2011 14:46.

The daily life has changed.

A 9.0-magnitude quake struck, followed 46 minutes later by a 16-meter tsunami that far outstripped the roof of a three-story hospital.

Several residents witnessed the incident.

・After the earthquake, doctors and nurses once left the hospital.

・Neighborhood residents fled to the hills behind the hospital. They were able to evacuate within a minute or two on foot from the hospital.

・Doctors and nurses. There were residents who stopped him from returning to the ward

Testimony from a resident

: "I said, 'A tsunami is coming, so run away to the back hill!' But the staff said, 'You can't run away leaving the patient behind,' and went back to the ward."

・Residents who fled to the mountain behind witnessed the hospital being swallowed up by the tsunami.

Resident testimony

: "I saw teachers and nurses on the rooftop going back and forth. I wonder what kind of situation they were panicking in. I can see everyone's faces... I was really indebted."

A total of 64 people, 24 staff including doctors and nurses, and 40 inpatients, were killed.

Four staff members survived the tsunami.

One of them showed me a memoir describing the situation in the hospital at the time.

(Partial excerpt from memoir)

A major tsunami warning was issued, and another staff member and I rushed up to the 3rd floor ward.

Four people wrapped a conscious patient in a sheet and evacuated to the rooftop.

By the time we reached the rooftop, water had already entered the third floor, and the other patients were in a situation where they could not do anything.

I was stunned on the rooftop with the patient, but the water soon reached the roof, and everyone, including doctors and nurses, was swallowed up by the tsunami.

Sites where “Tsunami Tendenko” does not work

In the Sanriku region of Tohoku, there is a saying, "Tsunami tendenko."

It means ``If an earthquake hits, a tsunami will come, so don't worry about your immediate family and run away separately''. .

But Ogatsu Hospital showed that "Tsunami tendenko" doesn't work everywhere.

I didn't return, my best friend rushed to me even though I was off duty

Outside the hospital, there are staff members whose lives have been saved by a last-minute decision.

Two assistant nurses and a visiting nursing team of drivers.

The town of Ogatsu is aging, and many people are recuperating at home.

Ogatsu Hospital provided home-visit medical care and home-visit nursing.

On that day as well, the three employees were hit by an earthquake while they were visiting the peninsula for home care.

One of them is Akiko Kondo, a former assistant nurse.

Immediately after the earthquake, she gave up the last home visit and rushed to the hospital.

However, 2 to 3 minutes to the hospital, I encountered a traffic jam due to a landslide.

Hearing a tsunami warning announcement, he had no choice but to return to higher ground in the opposite direction of the hospital.

Akiko has been deeply conflicted over her decision.

Ms. Akiko Kondo:

“Was it all right? I could have gotten there if I just walked. As time goes by, I blame myself for not being able to return.I couldn’t do anything with everyone.”

Mr. Shunetsu Chiba, a former boiler engineer, was driving the home-visit nursing car Akiko rode in.

"I made the decision to return to the hospital," Chiba said, looking back on his decision as if to protect his nurses.

Mr. Shunetsu Chiba

"I tried to go back to the hospital once. But on the way back, there was a landslide and the traffic was alternated. I couldn't go back. At that time, I heard on the radio that a tsunami of about 10 meters would come in about 5 minutes. I said, "If I stay here, I'll definitely be swept away. I made a U-turn and returned to the top of the mountain. I

really wanted to go back. I don't know what the correct answer is, but in the end, The two nurses were safe, so I think it was a good thing."

In the background of Akiko's deep conflict, there was also the existence of a childhood friend who rushed to the hospital even when she was off duty.

Toshie Endo.

Akiko and she have been together since the first grade of elementary school, junior high school, and nursing school, and are associate nurses at the same time as Ogatsu Hospital.

On the day of the earthquake, she rushed to the hospital and died, even though she had just finished her night shift and was off duty.

She has a strong sense of responsibility, and although she is her classmate, Toshie has a sister-like personality.

When she was in nursing school, she would drink juice on the roof of her dormitory at night and talk about her future.

Akiko told me a certain episode that was hidden in her heart.

Ms. Akiko Kondo

: Every year after the earthquake, we go to the cenotaph on March 11th, hand out incense to the bereaved families, and stand there waiting. , I can't help but say 'I'm sorry'.It's the same with

Tosie.Before the earthquake, she had a daughter who got married.(Toshie) was looking forward to it."Marriage has been decided." I think it was the year before.I said, "You're the next grandchild," and I was like, "Yeah."We've been together since we were little, and I'm the only one left

. I can't help it, but there's something about me that I'm sorry about.

After 12 years of thinking as a bereaved family, "I won't rush"

The bereaved families of the remaining employees are also thinking about their final actions.

Reina Sakamoto, the daughter of Tosie Endo, who rushed to the hospital off-duty, was working as a registered dietitian at a hospital in Sendai at the time of the disaster.

She said that when she heard the tsunami news on the coast on the radio, she was instantly convinced that her mother had gone to the hospital.

In the background was her mother, who was always happy to talk about her work at her home.

Ms. Reina Sakamoto

“It looked fun. I sing songs when I'm in a bad mood."

Ogatsu Hospital had many patients who were hospitalized for a long period of time, and many of them reached the end of their lives.

Tosie and her team of nurses came up with ideas and did everything they could to make the patient's stay as comfortable as possible.

The hands, which were still holding tight joints, were made to hold dried tangerine peels and tea leaves to prevent stuffiness and odors, and to fill the hospital room with a refreshing scent.

Even if there was no reaction, we had a fun conversation while doing physical contact.

As a human being with a life, his attitude of respecting him to the very end gave the residents peace of mind.

Ms. Reina Sakamoto

: “I think there was some kind of affection for the patient. To my mother, the patient was also a family member. I think it's probably because he cares about the people at work and the patients that he rushes to the hospital even when he's off duty."

Influenced by her mother Toshie, Reina chose the path of a medical worker.

Regarding her mother's behavior, she said that at the time of the disaster, she thought, "She might have acted the same way."

This is because the appearance of her mother, who sincerely cares for her patients, was also her admiration for Reina.

But after her 12 years, there was a change in her feelings.

Her motivation was the presence of two children who were born after the earthquake.

Reina Sakamoto:

“I often think about what I would do if I were in the same situation as my mother. I used to think that, but I've come to think from a different perspective.After the

baby is born, I'm thinking of raising it properly until the two get married.I don't rush to the hospital. I think"

How should we think about the lives of medical workers?

In Sendai, a short distance from Ogatsu, there was a person who expressed his inseparable feelings.

Mieko Ishii.

Her husband, Tatsuya, who was working alone at Ogatsu Hospital as her chief clinical laboratory technician, became her victim.

Mieko Ishii:

"It's true that I have to help patients because I'm a medical worker, but when I say I have to save my life to help, the rule is that it's okay to run away.

When I heard that there were people who escaped to the hill behind and were saved, I thought that if they could escape and be saved, it would have been fine to escape


However, he said his sons stabbed him with nails.

Mieko Ishii

: "I was told, 'Don't say such things.' 'What will you do with your surviving husband?' I wonder if that's true..."

Mieko Ishii's son, Yutaka, understands his mother's feelings, but has been shaken by unanswered questions.

Mr. Yutaka Ishii

: "I wish I could have run away, but if I was at the scene, I wouldn't be able to do that. I'm not saying that you don't have to run away. Patients also have families, so if you can run away, you should run away. On the other hand

, when I

saw the corpses in the morgue, there were also the corpses of patients who had been hospitalized, but frankly speaking, it really is. Bedridden people.In that case, it's a story that shouldn't be compared, but I really understand why you want to compare.That's why we shouldn't

make a difference between those who have a short future and those who have a long way to go. I wanted you to stay."

The right to live in the future that medical workers should have.

Tatsuya was certainly in the future envisioned by his family.

Each life that was also a medical worker and a relative of someone important.

what did they leave behind?

I want to continue to think without shelving.

Mieko Ishii:

“I think I enjoyed working at Ogatsu Hospital. It’s like working with patients. It seems that I started to feel that there are many people I should love, rather than feeling a sense of duty. They say they try hard to speak in the Ishinomaki dialect, but the intonation is completely different.It's quite a change.Because I'm a self-proclaimed city boy.I should have been trying to look cool for that reason, but with the patients

. As time went by, I started to like people from the countryside more and more

. It's a pity to think about what life would have been like if I had lived longer.I'm not at the peak of being a good person, so I'm sure there will be more than that.I don't care what kind of flowers I want to bloom. Did you go?"

A town hospital by the sea ~12 years after the Great East Japan Earthquake, Ogatsu-cho, Ishinomaki~

The contents of the article will be announced in the NHK Special

First broadcast date: March 11, 2023

Kengo Takahashi

Joined in 2015

Drama Program Department → Sendai Broadcasting Station → 2nd Production Center Social

Tohoku Witness!

Produced "Masahiro Tanaka Special 2021

", a style of professional work, etc.

Mariko Matsumoto

Co., Ltd. Kanaderu representative

Sendai office produced "Ano Hi no Hoshizora" and "The other side of the cafe door"

Nana Tanimoto

Joined in 2018

Shutoken Broadcasting Center → Sendai Station

Sendai Station 3.11 Project "What were you doing on that day?"

Stories "Music and the days of 11 years."