According to CNN, the family members of Takashima Shingo, a 26-year-old who tragically took his own life after completing his shift on May 17, are urging the healthcare system to implement reforms in order to prevent deaths caused by excessive work, commonly referred to as “karoshi” in Japan. According to the family, the Konan Medical Center in Kobe has not taken any measures to prevent deaths similar to that of Takashima, who was employed in April 2020.
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According to the Mainichi, the labor office stated in a June ruling that Takashima, who had recently become a medical specialist, was given similar responsibilities as senior doctors. These duties included writing reports and delivering conference presentations, resulting in excessively long working hours. The office reported that the doctor experienced depression as a result of excessive workload.
The amount of overtime he worked exceeded the threshold for workers’ compensation for mental disorders. According to CNN, despite the tightening of labor laws in 2018, overwork continues to be a prevalent issue in various sectors in Japan, particularly in the field of health care.
Takashima’s mother mentioned at a recent press conference that her son had appeared pale in the weeks leading up to his death. According to her, he expressed his dissatisfaction with the difficulty of the work and felt that nobody was providing him with support. She stated that her son expressed a desire to become a compassionate doctor.
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The hospital’s ability to replace doctors is uncertain, but for the family, he was an invaluable treasure. According to the Asahi Shimbun, the hospital claims that the overtime hours recorded for Takashima include “self-study time,” refuting allegations of overworking. Last week, hospital chief Eisei Gu stated that there is no recognition of excessive workloads being imposed on him.
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