5th patient dies at Japan hospital after air con fails amid heat wave

Another elderly patient at a central Japan hospital has died, police said Wednesday, following the deaths of four others possibly due to heatstroke after the air conditioners broke down.

The fifth person was an 84-year-old male patient who died at Y&M Fujikake Daiichi Hospital in the city of Gifu in Gifu Prefecture on Tuesday evening.

(Y&M Fujikake Daiichi Hospital)

The hospital previously denied that its air-conditioning failure had led to the deaths of the other patients, also in their 80s, who passed away on Sunday and Monday.

It argued that staff members had moved patients with serious conditions to air-conditioned rooms and used fans to substitute for air conditioners.

The hospital, which specializes in treating the elderly, said the air conditioners broke down on Aug. 20 and it had since used nine fans because it would need one month to fix the equipment.

Japan is in the midst of a dangerous heat wave that killed 133 people in July, a record for a single month. In the week through Sunday, 5,890 people were taken to hospitals for heatstroke or heat exhaustion, according to the Fire and Disaster Management Agency.

While it is common to suffer heat exhaustion and heatstroke outside, people can get those symptoms while staying indoors. Elderly people are said to be particularly prone as they tend to have limited ability to control their body temperature.

All — Kyodo News+

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