A-Bomb Survivors in America Examined by Hiroshima Doctors

SOUTHERN CALIFORNIA HIBAKUSHA EXAMINED — Makoto Matsumura, a physician of the Hiroshima Prefecture Medical Association, examines Eiko Fukushima, a 78-year-old atomic-bomb survivor from Hiroshima, now living in Los Angeles, at a suburban Los Angeles hospital on Sept. 19, 2009 Kyodo News photo

LOS ANGELES (Kyodo) — Atomic-bomb survivors from Hiroshima and Nagasaki, now living in North America, received health checks from a group of Japanese doctors Sept. 19 at a suburban Los Angeles hospital.

The medical delegation, consisting of physicians and administrative personnel commissioned by the Japanese government and Hiroshima prefectural government, conducted medical exams including interviews, blood tests and electrocardiographs on the survivors.

“I can’t ask detailed questions to American doctors due to the language barrier,” said Eiko Fukushima, 78, a Hiroshima native who lives in Los Angeles. “I am really happy that these doctors thoroughly explained (my health condition) in a Hiroshima dialect that sounded familiar to me.”

Officials of Hiroshima and Nagasaki prefectures answered some questions regarding applications for health pass books and associated benefits for overseas A-bomb survivors and other administrative procedures.

About 1,000 A-bomb survivors currently live in North America and some 600 of them received health pass books and benefits for recognized survivors.

Health management associated with aging has become a priority issue for the A-bomb survivors in North America.

According to Makoto Matsumura, a member of the medical delegation and a physician of the Hiroshima Prefecture Medical Association, the average age of the atomic-bomb survivors in North America, including those in Hawaii and parts of Canada, has reached 77.

The checkups in North America by dispatched Japanese doctors have been conducted every two years since 1977, and later will be conducted in Honolulu, San Francisco and Seattle.

The United States dropped atomic bombs on Hiroshima and Nagasaki in 1945 during World War II, and the survivors still suffer physical and mental scars after more than 60 years.

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