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Hospitals closed on evenings and weekends?

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Hospitals closed on evenings and weekends?

Postby andycarmenjapanese8100 » February 18th, 2013 6:02 pm

This article excerpt was written by an American who moved to Japan:

The good news about health care in Japan is that your insurance is accepted pretty much anywhere. The bad news is that most hospitals keep shorter hours than a Blockbuster Video. Generally speaking, Japanese hospitals are only open from about 9 a.m. to 6 p.m., and are usually not open at all on the weekends. So if you lop off a digit at a family barbecue, you basically have to wrap your stump in a Pikachu towel full of ice, wait for Monday to roll around and hope your severed finger doesn't get freezer burn.

Even then, it's no guarantee you'll get to see a doctor, because outpatients are usually only admitted in the morning. If you don't get to the hospital quickly enough, you'll have to wait another day (oh, and good luck using all that personal time in a country where missing work is considered a form of light treason). Also, first-time patients can't make appointments at most medical facilities, so you pretty much just have to show up and hope somebody dies in a car accident on the way to the hospital and frees up a slot. And make sure to bring cash with you (see above), because while the majority of hospitals have ATMs, you really don't want to play "Will my card work here?" while you're bleeding from the face.

If you do manage to make it into a doctor's office, make sure that you bring someone with you who can speak Japanese, because not many doctors or nurses speak English. ... japan.html

Is there any truth to it?

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Re: Hospitals closed on evenings and weekends?

Postby community.japanese » February 19th, 2013 1:50 pm

wow, it sounds like Japan has a terrible medical system... :(
I feel it's a bit too much of exaggeration.

Medical systems including hospitals/clinics' open hours might vary in each country. And, yes, hospitals and
clinics in Japan are open only week days. However, of course we have emergency cases here in Japan too and
we also have ambulances :mrgreen:
once you call ambulances (and you had one come), they MUST take you to a hospital. They cannot tell you
things like "this is not serious enough, so you can wait until Monday" nor the ambulance crews treat you
instead of taking hospital; they can give you the first aid, but they have no "call" or no choice of refusing to
take you to a proper doctor. So, don't worry too much about it.

There's also a number to call if you're not sure your case is serious enough to get an ambulance.
You can call this number and the qualified people will give you advice on your emergency case.

As to rejection to the first-time patients, that's the case for famous hospitals and usually those hospitals are of
universities. Some private ones might also have membership system, but that's a special case.

Now payment.... it comes AFTER the treatment. Why anyone working in medical field want to "wish" someone
dies in front of you??? This is rather an insult to any medical professionals in any country, I suppose :(
While Japan is well-known "everything is business" country, speaking about money is a delicate issue and we're
not good at it. If so, people would never ask you "have you got money?" when they see your injury; they'd first
ask you how bad the pain is, whether or not you have pains on other part of your body, how you got injured, etc.

Still, sadly, ATM problem is not completely incorrect. Credit cards are usually not accepted in medical institutes either.
However, if you're taken to the hospital under emergency condition, they should help you in payment too.

Finally, language barrier.
Unfortunately, this is quite much true. Some hospitals have volunteer interpreters, but it's rare. If you know anyone
who speaks Japanese, try to get that person when you're at hospital. If not, hospital should think of the way to get

I hope you won't get wrong idea about Japan and medical systems in Japan.
I know it's not enough foreigner-friendly, but this kind of articles are focusing too much on "sounding funny" than
telling you truth to help you.

Hope this helps! :wink:

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