A 50-year-old man who refused medical treatment after being knocked down by a car in the town of Tosu, Saga prefecture, was found dead in his apartment a month after the accident occurred, a local newspaper reports.
Why the man refused treatment is unclear, but after a routine postmortem investigation both town and prefectural police came to the conclusion that the man’s death was brought about by injuries received at the time of the road accident a month previous. Despite having immediately called for the medical assistance that the victim flat-out refused, the driver has been reportedly been charged with involuntary manslaughter.
When paramedics arrived at the scene of the accident on April 24, the 50-year-old man was determined not to be taken to hospital. After checking him over, police did not notice any serious wounds and so allowed the man to return home untreated, recording the incident as a traffic accident resulting in minor property damage. As an act of courtesy, the driver–who is thought to belong to an organization in the town–escorted the man home and urged him to go to the hospital for a medical examination just in case.
However, while the man claimed to be fine at the time, on June 5 at around 1 p.m. police received reports of an unpleasant smell coming from the 50-year-old’s apartment. Upon entering the premises, police discovered his decaying body.
Autopsy results suggest that the man died of a functional disorder of the brain which was caused by a serious blow to the head, and was directly linked to the accident. It was also concluded that due to the severity of his injuries, the probability that the man had died within 24 hours of the accident was extremely high.
While the driver who caused the accident was very co-operative throughout the investigation, due to the complications of the matter police now have no option but to treat the incident as involuntary manslaughter.
Naturally, the case moving from mere property damage to involuntary manslaughter in a matter of weeks has shocked Japanese internet users who, on the whole, sympathize with the driver.
“If it’s only a graze I can understand refusing treatment but this type of injury?! Come on!”
“This is more a case of neglect on the part of the man who got run over rather than the driver.”
“This is a difficult one. Just what course of action is morally justifiable? Is it necessary to go so far as to knock the man out and drag him to hospital to get him to receive treatment?”
“Surely this is the police’s fault for judging the man to be well enough not to receive treatment and declaring the case ‘property damage’.”
“I feel sorry for the man that got knocked down. But, really, not going to hospital? It’s bad that the police didn’t make him go.”
One can only hope that the courts take pity on the driver of the vehicle and that those involved in this incident learn from it.