Hiroshima Insight

Hiroshima Red Cross Hospital

Endured through the postwar period

Today’s Hiroshima Red Cross and Atomic Bomb Survivors Hospital, located in Naka Ward, was founded in 1939 as the Japan Red Cross Hiroshima Branch Hospital. The hospital then established the training program for nurses which Ms. Ueno entered. In 1943, the name of the hospital was changed to Hiroshima Red Cross Hospital. During the war, it was a designated military hospital which accepted ordinary citizens as outpatients, but only military personnel could be hospitalized there.

At the time of the atomic bombing, it is estimated that 554 people were working at the hospital, including doctors, nurses, and nursing students. There were 250 inpatients as well. The atomic bomb killed 56 staff members and inpatients, and another roughly 360 people were injured on the grounds, some slightly and others more seriously.

Scores of victims, wounded in the A-bomb attack, converged on the hospital for aid. The doctors, nurses, nursing students, and inpatients—everyone who was capable of pitching in to help—became engaged in the relief efforts. Their medical supplies, though, soon ran out.

Because the hospital was made of concrete, the main building didn’t collapse or burn, although it suffered warped window frames and shattered panes of glass, among other damage. The building endured for nearly half a century until, in 1993, a new building was constructed and the aging one demolished. The iron frames of windows that had been bent by the force of the blast were moved to another location, then preserved as part of the memorial which now stands in front of the hospital.