HEALING BY TATSUICHIRO AKIZUKI, M.D.
HOW WE SU A doctor saves his patients from the atomie bomb. Nagasaki, August 1945. The city is wtderahotspellpunctuatedbythecotistaM American bombing. Thedailylife is constant ly miermpied by the air-raid alarms and the rush to the air-raidshelters. Dr. Akizuki is then direciorat Ihe Hospital of Urakami, on Motohara Hut, Nagasaki.. , "n the mornins of August 7, f opened the newspaper as usual wondering which regioii had been bombarded yesterday, That's when the fronf page aUracted rny atrention. "Anew type of bomb dropped on Hiroshima, Serious damage5."ïnspiteofmyself, ïcalledin Brother Iwanaga to see this article. Instead of talking of the usual everyday explosions, the report taiked about a "new type of bomb" and furthermore about "serïous damages." I was very worried, Normaliy, the papers wonlö announce any damage, however big, as "light"; today, the papers weresaying, very openly, ''seriousdaraagcS.'' It was a very bad omen. On August 9, nof a eloud in the sky. Some of the hospita) attendants were preparing a late breakfast. Some were fïHing big bowls of miso soup, others were distributing them on cach floor. Tiiere was much commotion in the hospital. The siren went on announcing the end of the American air raids, and the hospita! returned to its norrnal activities. "At lust, we can eat our breakfast. The patienis must be hungry," l said. We were also hungry, bui first we had to finish our consultations.. As l started to push a hypodermic syringe in a patient's chest for a pneumothorax, I lieard a "boumm..." sounding like a rnotor, far away above our heads. "Why this noise, sinee the end of the air raid has been announced?" ï wondered. Aslthoughtabout that, this 10
strange "boum" came down on.us, rïgdt above the hospita!, coming in E crash. Icriedout, "Anenernyairplane! Look out! Take sheiter!" A.t the sanic time, I witïidrew ihe syringe fiom ths patient's chest and proïfrated rnyself beside his bed. • . A flash! A white flash burst. The n exr moment "Bang! crack.'" A violen t shock shook all of us and the hospital. Thcre was maybe onïy a second or two between this strange "boiim" and the "bang" of Ehe hit. l lay down on the fioor, consciously or not. Sorne debrïs feil tumbling down my back.; "Our hospital ha.s beenstmck!" I thought. I starled to have fits of giddïness and my ears itched. About ten niinutes later, I got up staggering and looked around me. There was nothing but B yeïlow smoke, with a white powder hanging in the air and a certain (Jarkness,.. Afler recoveritig from the shock and as soon as the mmosphere cleared up. Dr Akizuki worried over thestateof
heahh of his patlents who vere staving in the hospita/, To his astonishment, none oj ihern seemed 10 be badiy inJLtred, Siitiïig at my desk, I looked out of the windo w into the garden and around the hospilai. There was neïther a windowpane nor a window frame l e f t ; cverything was pulverized. The smoke cioud was dissipatinglittlebylittleover the garden. Some people, lightly injured, wert running away. Looking toward thesoutheasi I was shocked—the sky was darker than night, coated over by a cloud-like smoke, and under this dark cover, in&rewas another darkycï]ow cloud of ürnoke. Thf ground starled to appear linie by liitle and the spectacle horrified me: all visible buildings were in flame, not only the buildings but also the straw roof houses. "Whai's happening? U's nol our hospiLid ^hich was bombarded!" I could only understand that. "Such an ocean of fireï Sucli a sraokey ïfeyl [5 it the end of the
Published on Mar 30, 2011