George Weller / Chicago Daily News – 2005-06-23 23:38:43
NAGASAKI, Sept.9 (cdn) — The atomic bomb’s peculiar “disease,” uncured because it is untreated and untreated because it is not diagnosed, is still snatching away lives here.
Men, woman and children with no outward marks of injury are dying daily in hospitals, some after having walked around three or four weeks thinking they have escaped.
The doctors here have every modern medicament, but candidly confessed in talking to the writer — the first Allied observer to Nagasaki since the surrender — that the answer to the malady is beyond them. Their patients, though their skin is whole, are all passing away under their eyes.
Kyushu’s leading X-ray specialist, who arrived today from the island’s chief city Fukuoka, elderly Dr. Yosisada Nakashima, told the writer that he is convinced that these people are simply suffering from the atomic bomb’s beta Gamma, or the neutron ray is taking effect.
“All the symptoms are similar,” said the Japanese doctor. “You have a reduction in white corpuscles, constriction in the throat, vomiting, diarrhea and small hemorrhages just below the skin. All of these things happen when an overdose of Roentgen rays is given. Bombed children’s hair falls out. That is natural because these rays are used often to make hair fall artificially and sometimes takes several days before the hair becomes loose.”
Nakashima differed with general physicians who have asked the regiment to close off a bombed area claiming that returned refugees are infected from the ground by lethal rays.
“I believe that any after effect out there is negligible. I mean to make tests soon with an electrometer,” said the specialist.
A suggestion by Dutch doctor Lt. Jakob Vink, taken prisoner and now commander of the allied prison camp here, that the drug (illegible) which increased white corpuscles be tried brought the answer from Nakashima that it would be “useless, because the grave (illegible).
At emergency hospital No. 2, commanding officer young Lt. Col. Yoshitaka Sasaki, with three rows of campaign ribbons on his breast, stated that 200 patients died of 343 admitted and that the expects about 50 more deaths.
Most severe ordinary burns resulted in the patients (sic) deaths within a week after the bomb fell. But this hospital began taking patients only from one to two weeks afterward. It is therefore almost exclusively “disease” cases and the deaths are mostly therefrom.
Nakashima divides the deaths outside simple burns and fractures into two classes on the basis of symptoms observed in the post mortem autopsies.
The first class accounts for roughly 60 percent of the deaths, the second for 40 percent.
Among exterior symptoms in the first class are, falling hair from the head, armpits and public zones, spotty local skin hemorrhages looking like measles all over the body, lip sores, diarrhea but without blood discharge, swelling in the throat (illegible) of the epiglottis and retropharynx and a descent in number of red and white corpuscles.
Red corpuscles fall from a normal 5,000,000 to one-half, or one-third while the white’s almost disappear, dropping from 7,000 or 8,000 to 300 to 500.
Fever rises to 104 and stays there without fluctuating.
Interior symptoms of the first class revealed in the postmortems seems to show the intestines choked with blood which Nakashima thinks occurs a few hours before death.
The stomach is also blood choked, also mesenterium. Blood spots appear in the bone narrow and bus-arachnoydeal, oval blood (illegible) on the brain which, however, is not affected. Going up part of the intestines have a little blood, but the congestion is mainly in (illegible) down passages.
Nakashima considers that it is possible that the atomic bomb’s rare rays may cause deaths in the first class, as with delayed X-ray burns. But second class has him totally baffled. These patients begin with slight burns which make normal progress for two weeks. They differ from simple burns, however, in that the patient has a high fever. Unfevered patients with as much as one-third of the skin area burned have been known to recover. But where fever is present after two weeks, healing of burns suddenly halts and they get worse. They come to resemble septic ulcers. Yet patients are not in great pain, which distinguishes them from any X-ray burns victims.
Up to five days from the torn to the worse, they die.
Their bloodstream has not thinned as in first class and their organs after death are found in a normal condition of health. But they are dead – dead of atomic bomb – and nobody knows why.
Twenty-five Americans are due to arrive Sept. 11 to study the Nagasaki bombsite. Japanese hope that they will bring a solution for Disease X. 1 2 3 4
“A NAGASAKI REPORT” by George Weller
Copyright (c) 2005 by Anthony Weller.
All rights reserved.
Published with permission of Anthony Weller, Gloucester, Massachusetts through Dunow & Carlson Literary Agency, New York via Tuttle-Mori Agency, Inc., Tokyo.
Posted in accordance with Title 17, US Code, for noncommercial, educational purposes.