Hello I’m Takahiro Kato, a neurosurgeon at Sobudai Neurosurgical Clinic.
After working at my clinic today, I attended the wedding reception of a mountaineer, Hirofumi Konishi. I’d like to share some intriguing thoughts from his speech at the reception, “The State of Mind Affecting Life and Death.”
His speech concerned the “golden 72 hours,” the life-saving time after a disaster occurs. According to some statistics, after 72 hours have passed the survival rate becomes extremely low.
In his speech, Mr. Konishi wondered if those people who simply locked themselves up in a room would experience mortality rates similar to those people who were in the middle of a disaster or outdoors.
The 72 hours spent locked away and the 72 hours experiencing extreme temperatures, suffering from injury, being trapped under wreckage, and undergoing severe stress in the midst of a disaster are very different situations.
But Mr. Konishi, who has climbed mountains as high as 8000 meters many times and has experienced being on the verge of life and death, related that a person’s state of mind determines his or her fate after the “golden 72 hours” regardless of the situation.
Based on his experience with life-and-death situations, Mr. Konishi said, at first we are trapped in despair. Next, the mind turns to thoughts of death. Finally, the body follows the mind and succumbs to death. During a disaster, we are pulled away from life the moment we give in to despair and feel we can’t survive any longer.
In the face of such a situation, we have the best chance of survival if we can find rays of hope. Although we cannot control our state of mind directly, it plays a key role in the outcome of a situation. I’ll talk more about that next time.
Doctor with Zen spirit