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Osaka emergency care center fundraiser hits target in just 6 days

The Osaka Mishima Emergency Critical Care Center fundraiser webpage is seen in this screen capture made on June 12, 2019.

OSAKA -- The Osaka Mishima Emergency Critical Care Center in Takatsuki, Osaka Prefecture, western Japan, has received donations totaling around 20 million yen (about $184,400) since starting an internet crowdfunding campaign on June 5, to help alleviate staff shortages and financial difficulties.

The campaign, which is unusual among medical institutions in Japan, hit its target amount of 20 million yen on June 11, six days after it was launched. The money will be used for personnel costs and other administrative requirements, with donations still being accepted until Sept. 3, its originally scheduled end-date.

Over 1,000 people have given to the drive, many leaving thankful comments on its website, including: "Please protect the last stronghold for emergency medical care in the community," and "They saved my younger brother's life." Commenting on the community's support, the center's head, Hitoshi Kobata, said, "In response to the goodwill that everyone has shown us, we want to deploy staff so we are able to protect the principle of never refusing emergency care to a patient."

The center accepts seriously ill emergency patients 24 hours a day. Operated by an incorporated foundation, it has received about 600 million yen in subsidies from the national and prefectural governments, as well as from three cities and one town in the area. It is currently experiencing acute staff shortages; in fiscal 2010 the service had 27 full-time doctors on its roster, but from April 2019 that number has fallen to just 14.

The crowdfunding campaign was started in an attempt to stabilize the service for the time being through measures including hiring part-time doctors.

(Japanese original by Shinya Yamamoto, Osaka Bureau)

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