The thyroid examination for children under age 18, offered free of charge by Fukushima Prefecture, in order to “watch over children’s health to bring a sense of relief,” is increasing anxiety of parents/guardians. Many are taking their children to hospitals outside Fukushima Prefecture, looking for a second opinion. The reason for that is the insufficient explanation about the result from the prefecture.
A sixty-year-old woman from Kawamata-machi, Fukushima, took her four-year-old grandchild to Nakadori General Hospital in Akita-city, Akita Prefecture, in June [...] to undergo palpatory and ultrasound examinations of thyroid gland as well as blood test for thyroid function.
The family received the prefectural examination result from Fukushima Medical University in February. All it said was, “There are small nodules and cysts (fluid-filled sacs), but there is no need for secondary examination.” They grew anxious about having to wait until the next examination two years later. They were upset when multiple cysts were confirmed at the Akita hospital. The doctor recommended a follow-up examination six months later and told them, “Now that there is a diagnosis, you will be able to use insurance next time.”
However, there are quite a few cases of people traveling far for the examination after being denied medical care in Fukushima Prefecture. A 38-year-old mother of two who evacuated to Aizu wakamatsu-city called five hospitals in the city, yet nobody agreed to examine them. She resented that “It is just not right that we can’t be seen by a doctor when we want to be seen.”
We asked physicians the reason for refusal to provide medical care and received the following responses.
A pediatrician in Fukushima-city: “It will be confusing if our result is different from the result by Fukushima Medical University.”
A hospital in Aizu district: “It’s not a duty of a private hospital to relieve the anxiety of parents/guardians.”
Published: August 28th, 2012 at 6:54 pm ET