I am norwegian doctor who worked as expedition doc on the Antarctic research station Troll for the summer season 2007-2008. NB: This blog is intended as a personal and ecological account from The Ice Planet - fully independent of the Norwegian Polar Institute, their official web page being: npweb.npolar.no

25 Nov 2007

Antarctic medicine

The previous doc has now left after a 10 day overlap period and I'm left to myself to explore the sickbay and doctor's office. The room is basically a well-equipped GP office, with basic surgical equipment (for sorting out cuts and simple fractures), emergency medical equipment (oxygen, defibrillator, suction, chest drains), and a small pharmacy. There's lots of tools for heating, transporting, and keeping patients warm. Diagnostic equipment includes a small lab with a microscope basic blood chemistry tests. Learning how to use those macines was easy.

The x-ray machine is a different matter.
I've spent the last 2 days trying to become friends with a sturdy old Toshiba from 1980. Having worked in a South African hospital the last year I should be familliar with this type of machine, but I've never been the one actually taking and developing the x-rays images. Due to a temporary lack of developing fluid it hasn't been used for the last year, so noone here can show me how to do it (right). I feel happy with the familiar buzzing sound it makes when you press Charge, Ready, X-ray!, but after developing and fixing the image the helpless piece of smoked meat ("fenalår"-a norwegian lamb specialty) I'm experimenting on turns out all black and foggy. If the fenalår had a fracture it would have to be major one for me to detect it. I'll keep on trying all the different settings. In the meantime I'm glad my living patients can talk and express pain.
We haven't had any major accidents yet.

No comments: