Archive for the ‘Antarctica’ Category

The latest news, views and opportunities from EWM Towers

Expedition & Wilderness Medicine

To take advantage of the World Extreme Medicine Expo early bird offer use discount code WEMEEARLYBIRD30 at the checkout.

Response to the Paris attacks

The medical response to multisite terrorist attacks in Paris reviews the coordinated effort from the emergency services and Assistance
Publique-Hôpitaux de Paris (APHP) .
The article offers the perspective of an Emergency Physician, Anaesthesiologist and a Trauma Surgeon, before offering a conclusion.

It’s clear no matter what the plan, it’s the people; doctors, nurses, emergency services, administrators, volunteers and many others, that enable a successful response.
View the FULL ARTICLE on the Lancet’s website.

Jobs and opportunities

The European Space Agency is once again looking for a doctor to join them for a year of research and experiments at the Concordia research station in Antarctica.
Click HERE to see the post on the ESA website.

Luangwa Safari Association Medical Fund need a doctor for 3-6 months to provide care for staff and guest in addition to providing care at Kakumbi Rural Health Centre.
Check out the full details HERE and to read a previous doctor’s blog written during her time in the role click HERE

Course pick

Mountain Medicine 2016 following another extremely successful course in Nepal trekking to Kala Patthar and Everest Base Camp.
The first piece of feedback we received told us “this was the most amazing trip I have been on” and it is comments like these we aim for and pride ourselves on.
Pre-hospital Trauma Workshops will continue throughout 2016. We focus on initial care around head injuries, chest injuries, traumatic cardiac arrest, blast and ballistic injuries. We’ll also touch on crew resource management and effective leadership on scene in the single and multi casualty scenarios.

“We treat athletes like NASA treats astronauts”.

Last month saw the launch of Vollebak, a new brand that aims to tackle the fundamental issues faced by extreme sports people.

Having lived through the highs and lows that come with racing and training in the world’s toughest environments, founders and adventure athletes Steve and Nick Tidball, started working on products and experiments to help athletes relax and survive.
Click HERE to find out more.

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Take a look at our latest newsletter to find out more about the amazingly adventurous Dr Andrew Peacock

 

Expedition & Wilderness Medicine

Have you booked your place for Dartmoor ’15? We’ll host our next Expedition & Wilderness Medicine course, 16 – 19 November and have new additional content on offer. Places are filling up fast, so if you’re keen to kick-start your Expedition Medicine career join us North Devon.

What’s a ‘traditional’ medicine career?

Dr Andrew Peacock works with us as a faculty member and also as Medical Director for Expedition & Wilderness Medicine Australia. Andrew recently spoke with RedBull.com about his adventurous career, giving an insight into how he balances a passion for outdoor pursuits and medicine. Click HERE to learn what makes the most adventurous of medics tick.

Poster competition

We’re super pleased with our new look Extreme Medicine Conference website. We’ve just added a page for our poster competition.
We’ve made it nice and easy for you to register and submit your abstract. Click HERE to be taken straight to the poster page.

Blogging for all the right reasons.

According to Uncharted Expeditions, “PTSD is a growing epidemic and the dialogue needs to continue for others to step out of the silence and get help”. In this blog one paramedic is finding peace in the mountains and she’s sharing her experiences.
This is a frank and brave blog, but one that is of great value to the writer and will hopefully help many others along the way. THIS LINK will take you straight there.

Antarctic job opportunity

The University of Texas Medical Branch is looking for an Emergency or Family Medicine physician with acute care experience to join them at the Amundsen-Scott South Pole Station.
You must have US citizenship, a US medical license and a love for dark snowy places.
The clinical load will is light, but the opportunity to work in this remote location should appeal to physicians interested in extreme and altitude medicine. This role provides a number of rare experiences like a view of the Aurora Australis and Milky Way from a perspective few others are fortunate experience.
Visit our jobs page HERE for more information and the relevant application contact details.

Kili’ opportunity

Action Challenge are looking for a medic to join their Kilimanjaro expedition, August 20 – 30. This expedition will follow the Lemosho route. The medic must be a fully qualified doctor – altitude experience and expedition medicine course attendance is preferred, but not essential and expenses for the trip will be covered.
If you’re looking for an adventure taking you up the world’s highest free standing mountain and are keen to tick off one of the Seven Summits, this could be right up your street.
For more information, take a look at the job advert HERE or to contact Action Challenge direct, call James Holland on +44 (0)20 7609 6695.

It’s your time to shine

If you have a story to share or know we want to hear from you. Blogs, vlogs interviews etc. are all welcomed, click HERE to share your experiences.

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Calling snow-loving doctors!

Life-changing opportunity for a physician to deploy to the North Poleutmb-Polar-Ops-Side-Banner_2 with the US Center for Polar Medical Operations (CPMO).

You’ll need to be a US citizen, have a US medical licence, hold a valid passport and not averse to the cold, the snow and the dark!  In return, you’ll have a unique experience, enjoyed by few others on the planet.  You’ll be rewarded with fantastic other-worldly snow-scapes and acres of stars in night-time Polar skies.

The CPMO is hosted at the University of Texas Medical Branch (UTMB).  Here, they support the National Science Foundation’s US Antarctic Program (USAP) and they seek a doctor to work at one of the scientific research stations in Antarctica.

The Amundsen-Scott South Pole station is one of the most isolated places on earth. CPMO are looking for an Emergency or Family Medicine physician with acute care experience who is up for the challenge of working at 10,000 feet during the depths of the Antarctic Winter.

While the clinical load is light, the opportunity to work in this remote situation will be attractive to physicians with interests in extreme/remote or altitude medicine.  Practice medicine under the Aurora Australis and see the Milky Way as few others ever will, all while providing health care to the station crew.

The South Pole Station carries out exciting research in astronomy, weather, geology and supports other science missions. Deployments are 9 months, and US citizenship is required.  Warm, shared accommodation is provided as are  recreational facilities, internet and telephone access.  CPMO are also recruiting for winter staff at the McMurdo and Palmer Stations.

For more information, please visit www.usap.gov or www.utmb.edu/polar

Call 409-772-3626 if you are interested or apply on-line at www.utmb.edu/polar.

 

Links
Polar Medicine Course
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Antarctic Medical Conference 2015: Fight offer

Free flights from Miami to Buenos Aires!

Antarctic Wilderness Medicine Conference

Secure complimentary flights from Miami to board expedition ship, National Geographic Explorer in Buenos Aires on 7th December for the iconic Antarctic Medical Conference, when you book with Lindblad Expeditions & mention Expedition & Wilderness Medicine’s medical conference.

Expect breathtaking scenery and huge photo opportunities on this voyage; whales, penguins & a multitude of seabirds: 7th – 20th December. With CME content accredited for 10 hours by the Wilderness Medicine Society and delivered by Dr Alex Kumar.

To read more about this life changing experience visit our Antarctic web-page HERE

This offer is time limited and due to expire 3oth June 2015, so don’t hang around.

 

Links

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White Mars: Doctoring in the Coldest Place on Earth

Extreme medicine and expedition doctor Alexander Kumar provides an account of his time spent working in one of  the coldest places in Antarctica and one of the few true extreme environments on Planet Earth.  Known for his sense of humour, he has lived, worked and travelled through over 80 countries all over the world, including the Amazon and extensively across the Arctic and the Antarctic a few times also over the past 10 years

Alex Kumar Expedition & Wilderness Medicine

Dr Alex Kumar

Shackleton in Space

Antarctica is a large flat egg-white expanse with bits of egg shell in it (aka the TransAntarctic mountain range) that is greater in area than India and China put together.

Exactly 100 years on from Scott and Shackleton, I travelled to Antarctica and spent around one year living at Concordia, a joint French-Italian inland Antarctic research station as the Human Spaceflight Research MD to conduct research for the European Space Agency in an attempt to understand how far human physiology and psychology can be pushed towards a future manned mission to Mars.  It is one of the most remote outposts on the planet located in one of the world’s most extreme environments.

Expedition & Wilderness Medicine Alex Kumar

The most extreme place on the planet?
Environmental extremes experienced there include:

*  Enduring around 3 months of complete darkness, where the sun does not rise above the horizon
*  The world’s coldest temperatures dropping down below minus 80 degrees Celsius
*  Complete isolation with no means of escape for 9 months, simulating long duration space missions and life on the surface of another planet
*  Chronic hypobaric hypoxia being located at around 3800 metres equivalent altitude
*  Nothing lives outside the station for over 1,000 kilometres, in nearly all directions.
*  Our nearest neighbours are the astronauts orbiting the earth on board the International Space Station, and then some Russians snowed* in at Vostok station (* = it does not actually ‘snow’ inside Antarctica).

Answering the job advertisement for what may be the coldest and loneliest job in the world, I found packing my mind for a year away was much more difficult than my bags.

“The uttermost end of the world”

To travel to the moon from the base would only take three days – far less than the three weeks it took to fly from London to Hobart and then to sail by icebreaker across the Southern Ocean, battling high seas, whales and being stuck in the ice pack with leopard seals before reaching a 60,000-strong rookery and football stadium’s worth of Adélie penguins.  The stench nearly turned me back home.

Antarctica is an ill defined space in people’s minds.  It incorporates South Georgia and other sub Antarctic islands, which are in fact closer to South America than the continent of Antarctica itself.  People can and have sailed to South Georgia even during its winter.  Whereas the interior of Antarctica remains an inpenetrable block of ice.  Even a team led by Sir Ranulph Fiennes’ (Coldest Journey) could not penetrate the continent’s interior during winter.

The longest on-call 

Antarctica is full of surprises (and penguins).  Adding to that it was the first time since the station opened 10 years previously that there would be just one doctor overwintering – that was to be me, since another doctor left the base just before winter began.  It was a game of Tag and I was ‘it’.  I can’t complain now about a set of nights or hardship on-call after doing nearly a year on-call in Antarctica.

The journey wasn’t over, it had just begun.  After flying a further five-hour flight inland in a Twin Otter over the Great White Silence, a blank white canvas.  Perhaps God had forgotten to paint this continent, intentionally I thought, as he took rest on the 7th day.

Alex Kumar, Expedition & Wilderness Medicine

Coldest science on earth

Antarctica’s ice layer protects and hides its secrets like a thick skin, stretched over the bedrock many thousands of feet below. Recent efforts at Russia’s Antarctic Vostok station tapped the veins of the sub-glacial lakes, which flow deep beneath the surface, that may harbour evidence of life forms of our distant past.  But as yet, this continent’s secrets remain teasingly elusive.

Ice cores plumbed out of the 800,000-year-old ice have told a story of their own – the impact of mankind on Earth and climate change. Century-old equipment was used in the discovery of a hole in the ozone – earth’s own flesh wound, which may yet scar over.

We conducted earth science research including glaciology, meteorology, seismology and astronomy, alongside my own research (on the adaptation of human health and well-being to this extreme environment), and trying to help in arranging the jigsaw pieces involved in sending a manned mission to Mars and back.

Curtain of darkness

As winter sets in, you stop living and start surviving.  Temperatures plummet below minus 80C. In May the sun sets for the last time.  A curtain of darkness falls, leaving you to endure three months of 24-hour darkness.  Spinning uncontrollably through the world’s time zones, leaving you gasping as you wake from unforgiving, hypoxia-euphoric vivid dreams.  The cold and isolation begin to seep in and your mind begins to stretch uncomfortably, as your senses become blunted by the sensory deprivation.

There is light at the end of the tunnel as multicoloured lights flicker overhead in the darkness, the Aurora Australis.

One way journey to the great beyond

Once you enter the Antarctic winter, you begin a personal journey of discovery and you will learn a lot about yourself.  You cannot turn back or go home.  Once that last plane departs, there is only one way up, you have to summit and there is no quitting, only crying along the way.

Alex Kumar, Expedition & Wilderness Medicine

Living and over-wintering as the only British national among a team of 13 Europeans in the most extreme and remote environment on the planet was not ‘easy’ but not so challenging as it was predictable.  As in any stressful environment living in an Antarctic station can be likened to living in one of the Old West frontier towns – a continual sense of not knowing who is going to shoot at who next or why.  As a team, we ate, slept, exercised, conducted science and survived alone frozen into the landscape in close proximity.  We all survived.

Not wanting to spoil the winter and many stories that came from it, I can summarise wintering in Antarctica in one sentence… it is one of the world’s only psychological marathons and one of the Earth’s greatest, most magnificent and most peculiar journeys.

‘I’ve been to Antarctica’

Tourists are so often bedazzled by Antarctica.  And the public are often impressed by those who have been there. It certainly is special.  However, all in all, you can say you have ‘been’ to Antarctica if you have flown in to work there for a few weeks or been on a cruise down there, during the breezy summertime.  Take heed, when this is so often thrown about in conversations and talks.

We are all just tourists when it comes to Antarctica

Really, you can never say you actually know Antarctica until you have wintered there.  And not just anywhere.    A winter on a subantarctic island such as South Georgia, Antarctica’s coast or peninsula (-20C climbing and skiing activities which can be accessible during the winter) is nothing like a winter in the interior of the continent (-80C in hypoxic darkness that is inaccessible for months).  And even a well connected wifi ridden winter in the interior nowadays is nothing like a broken radio winter in Shackleton’s day.  If you want real isolation, you’ll have to bury your head and phone in the ice.

My own conclusion?  Simple – Watching people around you unfold and unzip at the seams during wintering as a doctor is an interesting and can be an unforgiving past time.  For sure, people aren’t made of the same grit and stuff these days.  If you want to really experience something try to do it properly.  Challenge yourself and mankind.  What have you got to lose? … Only a few fingers or toes.

Alex Kumar, Expedition & Wilderness Medicine

 

Alex has since worked in different space analogue environments and constructed the ‘White Mars’ research protocol for Sir Ranulph Fiennes. 

As an accomplished writer, photographer and public speaker, he has published articles in BBC News, New York Times and by invitation, recently held an exhibition at the Royal Photographic Society, featured in The Guardian.  

Alex now talks and works internationally for different organisations and humanitarian agencies, conducts global health research and continues to enjoy taking photos behind his camera and presenting in front of cameras for TV including BBC and Discovery, alongside his day to day NHS job and is a member of the EWM faculty.

Alex is continuing important work on a patent for a unique blend of cheerful and optimistic British sarcasm.

More information can be found at: www.AlexanderKumar.com  

Alex’s TED talk ‘Malaria to Mars’ can be found at: http://youtu.be/OukZ04e6kOM

 

 

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