In July 2016, a mass-casualty stabbing attack took place at a facility for disabled persons located in Sagamihara City (Kanagawa Prefecture, Japan). The attack resulted in 45 casualties, including 19 deaths. The study hospital dispatched physicians to the field and admitted multiple casualties. This report aimed to review the physicians’ experiences and to provide insights for the formulation of response measures for similar incidents in the future.
This incident involved 30 emergency teams and 12 fire department teams, including those from neighboring fire departments. Five physicians from three medical institutions, including the study hospital, entered the field. The Simple Triage and Rapid Treatment (START) method was used on the field. The final field triage category count was: 20 red, four yellow, two green, and 19 black tags. All the casualties (n = 26) except for the 19 black tag casualties were transported to one of six neighboring medical institutions.
The median age of the transported casualties was 41 years (interquartile range [IQR] = 35.5 – 42.0). Three casualties (21.4%) were in hemorrhagic shock on arrival at the hospital. Twelve patients had multiple cervical stab wounds (median four wounds; IQR = 3.75 – 6.0). A total of 91.7% of these stab wounds were in mid-neck Zone II region. Of the 12 patients with cervical stab wounds, four (33.3%) required emergency surgery, and the rest were sutured on an out-patient basis. One patient had already been sutured on the field. All patients requiring emergency surgery had deep wounds, including those of the carotid vein, thyroid gland, nerves, and the trachea. Eight of the casualties were hospitalized at the study institution. Five of them were admitted to the intensive care unit. There were no deaths among the casualties transported to the hospitals.
Regional core disaster medical hospitals must take on a central role, particularly in the case of local disasters. Horizontal communication and interactions should be reinforced by devising protocols and conducting joint training for effective inter-department collaborations on the field.
Maruhashi, T, Takeuchi, I, Hattori, J, Kataoka, Y, Asari, Y. The Tsukui (Japan) Yamayuri-en facility stabbing mass-casualty incident. Prehosp Disaster Med. 2019;34(2):203–208