Nov 27, 2017
TOKYO - The government will encourage medical schools to introduce surgical training for practicing doctors and dentists using donated bodies in a bid to reduce malpractice, health ministry sources said Sunday.
The ministry has requested 500 million yen ($4.5 million) in the state budget for fiscal 2018 to subsidize universities introducing the training program, more than 10 times the amount allotted in the budget for the current fiscal year, the sources said.
While endoscopic surgery has been increasingly chosen in recent years to lessen the burden on patients, it requires higher surgical skills and there have been cases of fatal malpractice in Japan.
Training with bodies is a good way to enhance doctors' skills, but only 15 universities have applied for state subsidies to introduce the program, according to the sources.
Some universities are reluctant to launch the program due to the high initial costs of purchasing operating tables and other equipment, while some doctors have traveled overseas on their own to receive such training, medical school professors said.
According to a group that encourages people to donate their bodies after death for medical purposes, the number of people registering for donation has been rising steadily, reaching 90,000 in 2016.
While students have been permitted by law to use bodies donated to medical schools for anatomy practice, their use for training practicing doctors was made possible after the Japan Surgical Society and the Japanese Association of Anatomists released guidelines in 2012.
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