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January 3, 1996

Children of the Atomic Bomb: An American Physician's Memoir of Nagasaki, Hiroshima, and the Marshall Islands

Author Affiliations

Los Alamos National Laboratory Los Alamos, NM

JAMA. 1996;275(1):72. doi:10.1001/jama.1996.03530250076032

Toshiko remembers her experience at 16:

I found my older sister hardly recognizable among the dying and the dead.... Her face was swollen and burnt, her body pierced by glass and wood splinters which I pulled out. I had developed a mucousy diarrhea from the first day and was very uncomfortable and tore bits of my clothing to care for my toilet. But I stayed with my sister. The situation in the basement was appalling: the desperate condition of the victims, the overpowering stench of diarrhea, the vomitus, the excrement, and the putrefying wounds, and burns. Wriggling maggots appeared in my burns.

Testimonies by innocent children provide powerful descriptions of death and destruction from the atomic bombings of 50 years ago and the aftereffects on the survivors. Dr Yamazaki has woven their message into his interesting autobiographical work. Assigned in 1949 as physician in charge of the US Atomic Bomb