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A Slow Death: 83 Days of Radiation Sickness
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A Slow Death: 83 Days of Radiation Sickness

4.09  ·  Rating details ·  185 ratings  ·  25 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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4.09  · 
Rating details
 ·  185 ratings  ·  25 reviews

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Leo Robertson
Jan 27, 2017 rated it liked it
That's so inappropriate: I apologise
Dia Kristy
Apr 15, 2011 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
If I'm ever exposed to a neutron beam, just shoot me on the spot, okay?
Mar 24, 2011 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
Venus Maneater
Aug 25, 2018 rated it really liked it
By day 18 it starts to hurt. Not for Ouchi, he's already in unimaginable pain, but for the reader.

When day 30 has passed, you just want it to end and reading this book starts to feel like a struggle.

At day 83 you feel drained and heavy, like you owe Ouchi a small personal sacrifice for reading about his hellish struggle. This man suffered greatly and I feel like the author shines a way too positive light upon all those that forced Ouchi to keep on living. Was his sacrifice worth it? He's no lo
Jan 30, 2018 rated it really liked it
This book was a personal insight into a horrible accident. I was pleasantly surprised by the witness testimony included from the medical staff who were directly in contact with the victim, Hisasha Ouchie. I found that many online discussions (how I found out about the book) were particularly unforgiving about how the doctors kept Mr. Ouchie alive despite his incredible suffering, but this book shows an alternate perspective, of how far a physician should go in the pursuit to save their patient, ...more
Alison Killilea
May 13, 2017 rated it really liked it
More of a medical case study, but still very human. A pretty terrifying and unnerving look at the Tokaimura criticality accident which claimed the lives of two workers. While not an "enjoyable" read, it's quite fascinating and dwells on the ethical issue of keeping Hisashi Ouchi alive for the 83 days that it took him to finally die (and almost literally disintegrate), when it seemed certain that there was no chance of survival. I would have liked if there was some more information included on Ma ...more
Caitlin Dougherty
Jul 26, 2018 rated it it was amazing
This was a really tough thing to keep reading. At a certain point, I felt like the treatment of Mr. Ouchi was just cruel, but it is an eye-opening account of a dedicated medical team trying to undo ultimately permanent damage in unfamiliar territory. As unfortunate as Mr. Ouchi's suffering was during the "treatment" process, the case no doubt provided reference for future procedures in dealing with acute radiation sickness. Well written, thorough account. Recommended to anyone interested in stud ...more
Enggar ExoticIndo
Jun 03, 2018 rated it it was amazing
okay, if you hate to see disturbing photos, don't read it or pass it. It's painful to see a man who (already want to die) but must survive (i still imagined with his words) . Actually, it's hard for me to read it but i'm so curious. I hope I can sleep well after finish this book and I'm sorry from my broken English.
Apr 24, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Very interesting read! It takes you through the story of Hisachi Ouchi and the day by day thought process of his physicians after the accident.
Jan 22, 2019 rated it it was amazing
A brutal read about one mans slow death and the bravery he faced it with.
Jul 07, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Extremely harrowing and utterly facinating.
Sue  Velure
Feb 08, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Quick read. I can’t believe they kept this guy alive for *basically* a science experiment. This could be the most terrifying and excruciating way to die. Absolutely frightening.
Jul 20, 2018 rated it did not like it
Shelves: nuclear-disaster
I cannot read it...
Jussi Moilanen
Aug 06, 2018 rated it liked it
A well written and quite harrowing tale of what gamma radiation does to a human body. Could have been a bit longer though, as the subject matter involves a very complex area of physics.
Dec 25, 2016 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I received this book as a gift and finished reading it the same day. This is actually a pretty horrific true story of a couple of Japanese nuclear power plant workers who accidentally irradiated themselves. As the title suggests, they managed to irradiate themselves by taking a shortcut that their boss had implemented. The authors of this book spend only a page or two outlining the nuclear accident; I wish they had explained more of the scientific process that resulted in their illness. The vast ...more
Jan 11, 2015 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 t ...more
Apr 19, 2015 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 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 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
Aug 30, 2012 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 07, 2015 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: favorites
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 rated it really liked it
Very heartbreaking. The doctors should have let him die much earlier than they did. Very good read, just sad.
Fadhil Fadhil
rated it really liked it
Nov 23, 2018
rated it it was amazing
Feb 25, 2017
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Nov 03, 2016
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Apr 18, 2018
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Aug 25, 2011
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Apr 21, 2017
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