TAKATSUKI, Osaka Prefecture--An emergency hospital strapped for cash and workers reached its target of 20 million yen ($184,300) in donations in a week and will continue its mission of saving lives.

The Osaka Mishima Emergency Critical Care Center started its crowdfunding bid on June 5. It hit the goal on June 11, and by 6:30 p.m. on June 12, it had received 22,395,000 yen from 1,233 people.

“It is rare that such a large amount of money was raised in a short period of time,” said an official at Readyfor Inc., which handles the hospital’s crowdfunding.

The company also said it is uncommon for a hospital to raise funds through this method.

The critical care center plans to use the money to hire part-time doctors and nurses to fill the large number of vacancies left by departing staff.

The fund-raising campaign will continue through Sept. 3 at the Readyfor website because the hospital is not yet out of the woods.

Most of the donors so far live in the prefecture, including a woman who said her son “barely escaped death thanks to the hospital.”

Doctors and nurses at other hospitals have also contributed, as have donors from Aichi Prefecture, Tokyo and the United States.

“I want to help doctors working in emergency rooms,” said a man who donated from Tokyo.

Another man who lives in the United States said he is pitching in because he is “so grateful for Japan’s emergency care system.”

The Osaka Mishima Emergency Critical Care Center, which has 41 beds, is operated by a public service organization funded by the Takatsuki city government and three other nearby municipalities.

The hospital operates independently and is not affiliated with a university hospital, a rarity in Japan.

Open around the clock, the center focuses on treating patients with life-threatening conditions.

But only 14 doctors were working at the hospital during the current fiscal year, compared with 27 in fiscal 2010.

In fiscal 2017, an in-house infection forced the hospital not to accept new patients for a month. It also had to refuse patients with external wounds for three months because it had no orthopedic surgeons.

The suspension of such treatments led to a plunge in medical income, which represents more than 60 percent of the facility’s financial resources.

In fiscal 2010, the center reported 1.384 billion yen in medical income. That figure was down to 959 million yen in fiscal 2017.

The hospital tried to make ends meet by trimming expenses for electricity and water, and reducing its purchase of books and other publications and the number of times it was cleaned.

It ended up cutting personnel costs, which led to an exodus of doctors and nurses.

The aging hospital will be relocated to the premises of Osaka Medical College in Takatsuki in fiscal 2022.

The hospital decided to turn to crowdfunding to secure stable operations until its relocation.

Makiko Fukuda, deputy chief of the hospital, solicited cooperation from the public to ensure the center can continue treating patients in need of emergency care.

“Our efforts alone are not enough to lift the hospital out of this vicious cycle,” she said on June 5, when the hospital announced the money-raising effort. “I am calling for public support to allow us to treat patients in a stable manner.”

Donations can be made at the site: https://readyfor.jp/projects/misima