Archive for the ‘Antarctic Medicine’ Category

Self-operation: Tracking down a good story

Tuesday, April 22nd, 2008

Down here in Antarctica with a reasonable amount of free time, it is easy to let the mind and body slow into the sweet abyss of ennui. I’m especially concious of what this year means to my career; certainly it is an unparalleled life experience and I’m learning many skills (leadership, management, paperwork, snow-shovelling), but medically it has the potential to be a vacuum. Coming from a hectic ER job into a setting where I might only have to consult once or twice a week might sound wonderful, but I’m acutely aware that each passing day in Antarctica is at the expense of 30-100 patient’s worth of experience and procedures that I would have been performing back home. To counter the inevitable degradation of skills and mental fitness, I have made several promises to myself: I spend time doing minor tasks with surgical implements so as to maintain dexterity; I am studying for examinations on my return; I take part in online discussions and tutorials; and I am reading as many relevant journal articles as possible. (more…)

Records and updates

Tuesday, April 1st, 2008

For those who went into a flat panic – no there are no polar bears in Antarctica. You’ve been had. Happy April Fool’s Day!

I have to pass on the latest weather record – the current storm, now several days old peaked with a wind-speed of 88 knots (45.3 m/sec or 163 km/h). That’s the same as a respectable hurricane or an entry-level tornado.

As far as updates go, if you look carefully at the links on the right you will notice that I’ve created a page on the medical facility here at SANAE IV. This has been a long time coming, so thanks for your patience. Next up will be a photographic walk-through of the base, detailing the significant areas.

Polar Bear Mauls Antarctic Doctor

Tuesday, April 1st, 2008

REUTERS:- Sources reporting from the South African research station in Antarctica, SANAE IV, describe their shock and terror today as expedition leader and doctor Ross Hofmeyr was viciously mauled by a large adult male polar bear.

Expedition members looked on helplessly as the massive rogue bear struck Dr Hofmeyr to the ground and sat on his chest, pinning him to the freezing snow. “It happened so fast,” said one stricken scientist in a telephonic interview, “initially he yelled and tried to wrestle the bear, but then he realised the futility of fighting the behemoth and chose to feign death instead.”

Prospective Antarctic research and support personnel are frequently warned by concerned relatives and friends of the danger of polar bears in the Antarctic, but most believe that they will be safe from attack. Documented Antarctic polar bear attacks are few, and often linked to some form of substance abuse. However, in an area renowned as one of the world’s last great wildernesses, it is clear that calumny awaits the uninformed. Fortunately for Dr Hofmeyr, the bear quickly lost interest, and he was able to escape with non-fatal injuries.

Please be warned that the photographs of the incident, below, are graphic and may upset sensitive readers. (more…)