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A Slow Death: 83 Days of Radiation Sickness

4.11  ·  Rating Details ·  90 Ratings  ·  10 Reviews
Japan's worst nuclear radiation accident took place at a uranium reprocessing facility in Tokaimura, northeast of Tokyo, on 30 September 1999. The direct cause of the accident was cited as the depositing of a uranyl nitrate solution--containing about 16.6 kg of uranium, which exceeded the critical mass--into a precipitation tank. Three workers were exposed to extreme doses ...more
Hardcover, 160 pages
Published October 21st 2008 by Vertical
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Mar 24, 2011 Mike rated it really liked it
I picked this book up after following the Fukushima disaster and learning that a criticality accident had occurred in Japan in 1999. Two workers were exposed to lethal doses of radiation. Holy crap, what an awful way to die.

Even though this book seems to have lost a little in translation, gets the science slightly muddled in certain parts, and isn't especially deep, I still really enjoyed this. You can read it as a straightforward, step-by-step account of what massive radiation exposure will do
Dia Kristy
May 25, 2011 Dia Kristy rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: nuclear energy, japan, ethics, medical ethics
Recommended to Dia by: just researching Fukushima
Shocking and painful. I'm not sure I'm going to be able to finish this book (it's a short, quick read but HARD) but I'm going to try.

update: Couldn't make it past day 15. Excrutiating. This poor man suffered so much, every single day.

At the hands of "well-meaning" doctors?

He wanted to stop. He wanted to leave. He didn't want anymore 'treatment' but it continued and just got worse from there - and he was no longer able to speak.

I have to ask: was this prior to 'informed consent'. Or was it (is i
Jan 18, 2015 Petra rated it really liked it
I'd read a few articles this man and seen a few pictures before I read this book. The book goes into greater detail about his 83 days of life and medical treatment after radiation exposure following a criticality accident caused by poor safety conditions and criminally-negligent supervisory decisions.

The book raises a number of questions regarding medical treatment and ethics - the largest being, of course, the question of how far should medical science go to treat a patient? At what point is t
Jesse Andrewartha
An intimate account of a tragic accident, a worker exposed to well over 10,000 rems of radiation in a criticality event. Admitted to hospital conscious, talkative with only slight swelling of his arm, he took 83 days to die. Reading this book took a predictable course, the phases of deterioration after such exposures having been documented in other accidents and well documented. The approach of the authors is very matter-of-fact, and it serves well as a report of events. But there were aspects ...more
Koko Odya
Dec 20, 2015 Koko Odya rated it it was amazing
This book is a quick but dense read. My background in medicine and interest in history made this of particular interest. The medicine side is not exceptionally gory and described well in lay terms. But it is a brutally honest description of events. I was particularly interested in the ethical dilemmas faced by the doctors and nurses. Fascinating yet horrific story. Well worth the read if you've got any interest in medical ethics or historical events.
Erik Carl son
Jan 29, 2016 Erik Carl son rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Dear God.
This should be compulsory for everyone who thinks nuclear power is an worthwhile power source.
Had this been a wind farm or solar panel accident, the odds are pretty good Hisashi Ouchi would be alive today. Or at the very least not suffered nearly as bad.
It's a book which asks, "What's the cost of progress?", but also seeks to uncover how long should medical doctors fight to keep a man alive. It's brutal, horrible, and appalling, but must be read.
Austin Gilbert
Jun 21, 2016 Austin Gilbert rated it really liked it
A short, graphic, depressing look at radiation poisoning. I blazed through this in about two hours, so it's not a difficult read, but it's also by no means easy. The science behind both the accident and Ouchi's demise isn't too hard to comprehend; the graphic details and the medical team's persistence to keep him alive, however, make it hard to move forward at times. A tragic story, but one I definitely recommend
Jan 01, 2013 Gerry rated it really liked it
The 1999 Tokaimura criticality accident was of course a totally different sort of accident from Fukushima. But this book certainly helps us see the human side of the nuclear power industry from the point of view of those most at risk - the plant workers. English translation published in 2008 by Vertical.
Aug 18, 2015 Rachael rated it it was amazing
A short but in depth book about the horrors of radiation sickness. Raises some interesting but difficult questions such as how far medical professionals should go to keep someone alive despite the odds being stacked massively against them. Can be hard to stomach at times and very upsetting but definitely worth reading.
Alyssa Kabonic
Sep 08, 2015 Alyssa Kabonic rated it really liked it
Very heartbreaking. The doctors should have let him die much earlier than they did. Very good read, just sad.
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