World’s most radioactive man cried blood for 83 days as skin melted in ordeal

A horror accident at a Japanese nuclear plant exposed one worker to the highest levels of radiation ever suffered by a human being.

Hisashi Ouchi was helping a colleague pour litres of uranium into a vat at the Tokaimura Nuclear Power Plant, having been asked to try and speed up the process to cut costs in 1999.

Normally done by a hydraulic pump, the use of their bare hands exposed the three men in the room to usually fatal radiation levels.

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Almost immediately, Ouchi, who had received the highest level of radiation poisoning of the three, was in agony and could barely breathe.

He arrived at hospital having vomited violently and lost consciousness with doctor's stunned to find that he had almost no white blood cells left.

The radiation burns covered his entire body, and his eyes were leaking blood.

It was from then that the torment of thirty-five-year-old Ouchi began, with doctors effectively experimenting with medical science to keep him alive against his will.

Ouchi was found to have absorbed 17 Sieverts of radiation, an amount never before or since inflicted on a human.

Even the emergency responders at Chernobyl, many of whom died, were exposed to just 0.25 Sieverts.

Once in hospital, doctors worked to keep him alive via blood transfusions and stem cell grafts.

The operations were a medical success, and kept him alive, but for Ouchi it was torture.

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He reportedly continued to shout: "I can't take it any more! I am not a guinea pig!"

On his 59th day in hospital, Ouchi suffered three cardiac arrests, but each time doctors were able to revive him at the request of his family.

After 83 days of unspeakable agony, Ouchi's body gave out and he died of multiple organ failure, bringing to an end a heinous display of the power of medicine.

The technicians' supervisor, Yutaka Yokokawa, also received treatment, but was released after three months with minor radiation sickness.

He was later charged with negligence in October 2000.

Nuclear fuel company JCO went on to pay later pay out $121million (£98.3m) to settle 6,875 compensation claims from people and businesses who had been exposed to high levels of radiation from the accident, bringing to an end a grim chapter in modern Japanese history.

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