Ep 31 – The 83 Day Death of Hisashi Ouchi Part 1

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Irradiated chromosomes taken from Ouchi’s bone marrow

On September 30th, 1999 a 35 year old man named Hisashi Ouchi was working at the JCO Tokaimura Plant in Tokaimura, Japan.  On this day, he’d been asked to forgo his normal daily responsibilities and assist with a project being conducted at a nearby experimental nuclear reactor.  Shortly after work began a coworker screamed, “Run for your lives!”.  Ouchi darted from the room and found himself inside a changing area.  There, he began vomiting and soon lost consciousness.  Over the following months, almost everyone who came into contact with Ouchi would, in their own time, come to wish that he’d never awoken from his collapse.  But he did wake up.  This was the first of 83 days that would eventually prove themselves to be among the most painful that a human being has ever endured.

Ouchi’s arm 8 days after irradiation
Ouchi’s arm 26 days after irradiation


“An Introduction to Cherenkov Radiation.” Stanford.Edu, 2014, large.stanford.edu/courses/2014/ph241/alaeian2/. Accessed 12 July 2020.

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC. “Biological Effects of Radiation.” YouTube, 27 Aug. 2015, http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EuKzI3g5ra4. Accessed 13 July 2020.

“Chromosomes Fact Sheet.” Genome.Gov, 2019, http://www.genome.gov/about-genomics/fact-sheets/Chromosomes-Fact-Sheet. Accessed 13 July 2020.

Lamar, J. “Japan’s Worst Nuclear Accident Leaves Two Fighting for Life.” BMJ, vol. 319, no. 7215, 9 Oct. 1999, pp. 937–937, http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC1116790/, 10.1136/bmj.319.7215.937a. Accessed 13 July 2020.

Nihon Hōsō Kyōkai. A Slow Death : 83 Days of Radiation Sickness. New York, Vertical, 2008.

“Radioactivity : Cherenkov Effect.” Eu.Com, 2020, http://www.radioactivity.eu.com/site/pages/Cherenkov_Effect.htm. Accessed 12 July 2020.

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