Medical question


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  • #862
    julie
    Member

    How well equiped are the medical facilities at the stations? Can the doctor perform emergency surgery, for example?

    Unfortunately appendicitis happens…

    Cheers, Julie

    #8282
    Sciencetech
    Keymaster

    The medical facilities are basic, like a clinic back home but with a few more gizmos for testing and a small in-house pharmacy. It’s adequate for minor stuff.

    During the austral summer months, when the planes and ships are running, anyone requiring surgery would probably be stabilized and medevac’d off the Ice. The doctors are usually general practicioners, not surgeons, and if things go wrong there is little recourse. So they are highly reluctant to do any sort of surgery, even though the capability may be there, except in dire emergency.

    #8283
    Anonymous
    Member

    There was an excellent surgeon at McMurdo in the winter of ’59. When did that change?

    #8284
    Sciencetech
    Keymaster

    Was it always a surgeon back then? I knew the last Navy doctor at McMurdo who wintered in ’97 and he wasn’t a surgeon, so if there was a change it must have been before then.

    Occasionally one of the civilian docs has a surgical background. In ’95 Palmer had a trauma surgeon from Detroit. He had some great stories! That was probably the ideal kind of doctor to have on station, but the exception rather than the rule. I’ll settle for a doc who’s calm, experienced and approachable.

    #8285
    Anonymous
    Member

    Do the doctors stay very busy down there? I suppose that the number of patients really depends on what season it is. What other medical positions are staffed?

    #8286
    Sciencetech
    Keymaster

    Hi Diana, welcome!

    The McMurdo doctor(s) seem to stay busy, but that’s because of the larger population there. I’m not sure about the docs at the Pole. The Palmer doctor is usually idle — and we like to keep him that way.

    McMurdo has a couple of assistants, PA’s I think, especially during the summer. (Mike? Been There? Comments?)

    g

    #8287
    skua77
    Keymaster

    At Pole now there’s a physician and a PA…since there’s 86 folks here it seems that they’re pretty busy at times between seeing people, checking out equipment, running training classes etc… Earlier in the winter they held several CPR classes. Hopefully something none of us will need to use here except for practice.

    #8288
    thepooles98
    Keymaster

    during the last winter we had an MD, a PA and a PT. While they would not perform surgery under almost any circumstance, There is a telemedicine connection with high class physician services back in the states, so if necessary the doctors here have a lot a good backup. they can do blood tests and x-rays can be digitalized and sent to the states for reading. There is little chance of a winter medivac, so the staff has to handle everything. Accordingly the winter physical requirments are stricter.

    In the summer the medical staff grows. there are multiple physicians, a dentist, a Pt and PA. x-ray tech and more. Still they just stabilize and medivac you to NZ

    We also have a Mass Casualty Staff. It’s made up of members of the community and would be called up if there was a big disaster with lots of injuries. Usually it’s pretty laid back, but this year the physician insisted that everyone be extensively trained.

    #8289
    julie
    Member

    Thanks for all the feedback, Mike, Bill, Glenn and Mirage. And welcome to the forum, Diana. I’ve found the people here to be very helpful!

    Cheers, Julie

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