Patients Hit by Rocks during the Mt. Ontake Volcanic Eruption in Japan: An Experience of Trauma Cases
Mt. Ontake erupted at 11:52 am on September 27, 2014, and many climbers who happened to be on the mountain were killed or injured. Early the next morning, a disaster medical assistance team and mountain rescue team carried out rescue and first aid operations for a group of 26 climbers who had been evacuated to a cabin located on the highest summit in Gifu Prefecture. Of the climbers, 3 who required medical treatment were transported by helicopter to our hospital. Case 1: A 39-year-old woman had open fractures of the left clavicle, scapula, and ribs and underwent debridement under general anesthesia. Case 2: A 52-year-old man had an open fracture of the left humerus and underwent irrigation and fixation. Case 3: A 46-year-old man had severe bruising and swelling on the left side of the body due to extensive contusions with high serum levels of creatine kinase. All 3 patients had blunt injuries and penetrating injuries that were classified as secondary or quaternary blast injuries caused by the impact of high-velocity fragments of volcanic rock, debris, and gas. We report here a rare experience with blast injuries caused by a volcanic eruption in Japan.