Dr. DMAT by Takano Hiroshi and Kikuchi Akio

On one hand I think medical manga should be perfectly My Thing, but sometimes it takes a while to get into it. That’s what happened with Dr. DMAT.

DMAT stands for Disaster Medical Assistance Team, doctors that are sent out to the scenes of disasters and other mass casualty incidents. In the US the EMTs in an ambulance can do a lot to save your life – give drugs, maybe even intubate you. But in Japan the ambulance dudes have a very limited scope of practice, so if care is required on scene doctors need to be sent in.

Dr. Yakumo gets roped into his hospital’s DMAT team despite the fact that he’s not exactly suited for the job. He works in internal medicine, and out in the field emergency department physicians and surgeons are in high demand. As a result the first half of the volume is Yakumo’s rude awakening, seeing what a ten car pile up looks like and deciding who gets transported to the hospital first.

I read that first half back in 2018, but put the book down. I know a little bit of medicine so I could see through some of the overly dramatic moments that were being built up.

Book: This guy looks near death! Oh noes!
Me: Give him some glucose, he’ll perk right up.

I picked it back up on a whim and blew through the second half easily. I still rolled my eyes at the manufactured drama – there’s a fire at a 24-hr child care center and of course his little sister is working there at the time – but the medicine was more to my liking. There’s a fun discussion about triage, what the different levels mean, and what kind of patients need to seen to immediately. Some minor-looking symptoms can be quite serious, while some impressive injuries can be left for a few hours.

What helped the most, though, is that we see that Yakumo has a knack for this sort of thing. Even though he doesn’t know if his sister’s okay he stays calm enough to help patients and even juryrig an airway solution when things look dire. Nice.

The second half convinced me to keep my eye out for the second volume, as I’m curious what happens next. They’ve covered the most common incidents, so where will things go from here? Will they do different kinds of fire (at a chemical plant!), different kinds of traffic accidents (bus meets mountain slope!), or branch out into completely different stuff? I’ll report back, of course. 😉