Dead and Dying at Hiroshima Red Cross Hospital

The dead and the dying are strewn about the rubble of Hiroshima's Red Cross (Sekijuuji) Hospital 5000 feet (1,500 meters) from the hypocenter after the atomic attack. With most medical facilities in the city destroyed, the Red Cross Hospital, which had 69 staff killed outright during the attack, received thousands of dead and injured in the days after the explosion. Heavy firefighting saved the main building, but the wooden structures in the courtyard were lost. Little food or water was initially available, and the overwhelmed staff went without sleep for days, in some cases ignoring their own wounds. Critically injured lay in the hallways, the doorways, on tatami mats outside, and then were just deposited among the rubble. Some patients remained until October 1945, when state-sponsored medicine ended free health care. With the ongoing needs of radiation sickness, the people of Hiroshima agitated for increased health care. In 1956, the hospital opened a facility for Hibakusha (explosion-affected people). The main building, torn down in 1993, had an original section damaged in the blast dedicated as memorial in 1995. Doctors from Hiroshima Red Cross Hospital went to the former Soviet Union in the 1990s to assist caring for the victims of the Chernobyl disaster.
Caption Written By: 
Jason McDonald
Date Photographed: 
Friday, August 10, 1945
Hiroshima Prefecture