Beta

×

Welcome to the Slashdot Beta site -- learn more here. Use the link in the footer or click here to return to the Classic version of Slashdot.

Thank you!

Before you choose to head back to the Classic look of the site, we'd appreciate it if you share your thoughts on the Beta; your feedback is what drives our ongoing development.

Beta is different and we value you taking the time to try it out. Please take a look at the changes we've made in Beta and  learn more about it. Thanks for reading, and for making the site better!

Stroke Victim Stranded At South Pole Base

Soulskill posted more than 2 years ago | from the i-saw-this-episode-of-house dept.

Medicine 264

Hugh Pickens writes "Renee-Nicole Douceur, the winter manager at the Amundsen-Scott research station at the South Pole, was sitting at her desk on August 27 when she suffered a stroke. 'I looked at the screen and was like, "Oh my God, half the screen is missing."' But both the National Science Foundation and contractor Raytheon say it would be too dangerous to send a rescue plane to the South Pole now, since Douceur's condition is not life-threatening. Douceur's niece Sydney Raines has set up a Web site that urges people to call officials at Raytheon and the National Science Foundation. However, temperatures must be higher than -50 degrees F for most planes to land at Amundsen-Scott or the fuel will turn to jelly. While that threshold has been crossed at the South Pole recently, the temperature still regularly dips to 70 degrees below zero. 'It's like no other airfield in the U.S.,' says Ronnie Smith, a former Air Force navigator who has flown there about 300 times. A pilot landing a plane there in winter, when it is dark 24 hours a day, would be flying blind 'because you can't install lights under the ice.' The most famous instance of a person being airlifted from the South Pole for medical reasons was that involving Jerri Nielsen FitzGerald, a doctor who diagnosed and treated her own breast cancer. Using only ice and a local anesthetic, she performed her own biopsy with the help of a resident welder. When she departed on October 16, 1999, it was the earliest in the Antarctic spring that a plane had taken off."

cancel ×

264 comments

Sorry! There are no comments related to the filter you selected.

South Pole != USA (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37676070)

'It's like no other airfield in the U.S.'

The South pole isn't apart of the US.

Obviously, (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37676100)

Captain Obvious Was Here.

Re:South Pole != USA (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37676466)

There aren't too many Americans who would understand your sentence.

Re:South Pole != USA (4, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37676542)

The South pole isn't apart of the US.

Yes it is.

Re:South Pole != USA (1, Funny)

Chrisq (894406) | more than 2 years ago | (#37676634)

The South pole isn't apart of the US.

Yes it is.

One things for certain, if it isn't for them then its against them.

Re:South Pole != USA (1, Offtopic)

DarwinSurvivor (1752106) | more than 2 years ago | (#37676714)

Apostrophes, how do they work?

Re:South Pole != USA (2, Insightful)

Chrisq (894406) | more than 2 years ago | (#37676776)

Apostrophes, how do they work?

Apostrophe's? You add them at random.

Re:South Pole != USA (0)

JockTroll (996521) | more than 2 years ago | (#37677004)

An apostrophe is a pink symbol between the words "I can" and "t write".

Re:South Pole != USA (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37677368)

It say's s'he had a stroke's. I think that jus't mean's she's there to have s'exy time's with.

heres some landing photos at night (2)

cheekyboy (598084) | more than 2 years ago | (#37676838)

Re:heres some landing photos at night (1)

matfud (464184) | more than 2 years ago | (#37677622)

Did you read that? Night vision gear. Yes I suppose they can land with that equipment. It is not normal kit though

Re:South Pole != USA (2)

ObsessiveMathsFreak (773371) | more than 2 years ago | (#37677374)

Neither is Guantanamo Bay, but that's never stopped the US Military.

Hmm... (4, Informative)

Frosty Piss (770223) | more than 2 years ago | (#37676088)

McChord Air Force Base has a couple of C-17s in Christchurch *right now* involved in Operation Deep Freeze. Of course, the jets keep the engines running while cargo goes off and on, and as a point of fact, we are now actually doing NVG landings and take-offs.

Re:Hmm... (5, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37676666)

The problem is that the C-17's have wheels. Unless things have changed recently, Amundsen only has a snow field, not an ice runway like McMurdo. Landing anything other than a twin-otter or LC-130 at Amundsen probably wouldn't be classified as a "landing" and definitely would be a one-way trip (note the L before the C-130 - it's not a normal Herky-bird).

Another issue is that the LC-130 doesn't have the legs to make CHC-Amundsen-CHC non-stop. Therefore, it has to land at McMurdo at least once. That means that the weather has to be agreeable to allow the mission to happen (putting aside the issues with fuel jelling and gasket failure at the Amundsen temperatures). In early October, some days the weather at McMurdo is good, but it's not the rule. Nasty storms this time of year.

While the situation is quite sad, most of the damage in a stroke occurs in the first hour, which has long sense passed. Rehab is the only treatment at this point. Another stroke may happen, and medical intervention could reduce that chance, but a chance is an awfully big dice-roll that involves a full flight-crew.

Re:Hmm... (4, Informative)

quenda (644621) | more than 2 years ago | (#37676768)

Also, the south pole base at 2,835 meters elevation. McMurdo is a comparatively balmy 24m and 78degrees latitude.

C17 landing photo at night, proof here (3, Informative)

cheekyboy (598084) | more than 2 years ago | (#37676862)

A C-17 Globemaster III aircrew from McChord Air Force Base, Washington, performed the first known after-dark landing in Antarctica using night vision goggles on September 11, 2008.

http://photolibrary.usap.gov/Portscripts/PortWeb.dll?query&field1=Filename&op1=matches&value=09122008_NVG_C17.JPG&catalog=Antarctica&template=USAPgovMidThumbs [usap.gov]

Re:Hmm... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37677736)

So...A plane that can't land where she is is safely in New Zealand...

Not much help there.

Ehmm (4, Insightful)

mobby_6kl (668092) | more than 2 years ago | (#37676104)

Not only is the condition not life threatening at the moment, the rescue wouldn't achieve much since by the time the victim could be transported out of there, any damage would've been done already. Not to mention that putting her into an unpressurized plane (if it's too cold for the C130) could be dangerous by itself.

Re:Ehmm (3, Funny)

Sarten-X (1102295) | more than 2 years ago | (#37676140)

This is Slashdot. We will devise a brilliant solution, utilizing the latest technology from around the world, in a complex yet elegant manner. Once this solution is established, no faults will be acknowledged, for we are faultless. The next time such a situation arises, we will angrily wonder why our solution was ignored by those evil profit-oriented corporations.

This is Slashdot. Practicality isn't very welcome here.

Re:Ehmm (0)

bky1701 (979071) | more than 2 years ago | (#37676184)

I suggest a transporter. Now, where did Scotty get off to...

Re:Ehmm (0)

niktemadur (793971) | more than 2 years ago | (#37676446)

I suggest a transporter. Now, where did Scotty get off to...

After getting drunk with Piccard on the holodeck, becoming friends with LaForge and saving the Enterprise-D in a most outlandish manner, it seems he's continuing his retirement and roaming about the galaxy on a shuttlecraft.

Re:Ehmm (1)

dgatwood (11270) | more than 2 years ago | (#37676314)

We will devise a brilliant solution, utilizing the latest technology from around the world, in a complex yet elegant manner.

Helicopter.... Nothing fancy, just something with proper blade heaters, for obvious reasons. :-)

Re:Ehmm (1)

DrgnDancer (137700) | more than 2 years ago | (#37677720)

I believe not. I'm not sure of the details, but I've read that helicopters can't be used at the South Pole Station. Something about the altitude and temperature making the air too thin for the blades to get lift or something. I might be remembering wrong, but you have to remember that except for the International Space Station these are literally the worst conditions that any humans live in anywhere. By comparison Inuits and Sherpas live in lovely safe climates. Very few "normal" solutions work.

Re:Ehmm (1, Offtopic)

martin-boundary (547041) | more than 2 years ago | (#37676736)

Or, we could just call House. He's out of prison, you know.

Re:Ehmm (0)

cp.tar (871488) | more than 2 years ago | (#37676938)

I seem to recall an episode with a similar plot, actually.

(I have a feeling this will be moderated (-1, Obvious).)

Re:Ehmm (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37677546)

A boat that could meet them at the edge of stable ice? I mean, a nuclear hovercraft, not a boat. Sorry 'bout that.

Re:Ehmm (2)

mpthompson (457482) | more than 2 years ago | (#37676218)

Even a pressurized plane could be dangerous for someone recovering from a stroke as they usually keep cabin pressure equivalent to 10,000 to 12,000 feet.

cabin altitude is kept below 8,000ft (1)

YesIAmAScript (886271) | more than 2 years ago | (#37676298)

Some people will start to exhibit altitude sickness even at 8,000 feet.

Re:Ehmm (2)

snowgirl (978879) | more than 2 years ago | (#37676468)

Apparently, according to her own words, Renee is already acclimated at about 10,000 feet. Wikipedia confirms that Amundsen-Scott station is at an altitude of 9,301 feet.

Air Pressure ... (4, Informative)

Alan R Light (1277886) | more than 2 years ago | (#37677568)

Renee is at the South Pole, at an elevation of 9300 feet - however, because the atmosphere at the poles is thinner than at the equator, air pressure at South Pole is roughly equivalent to 10,500 feet.

However, this is a good point. It is one of the reasons why Renee requested a medical attendant on her evacuation flight, as well as a second medical opinion about her condition. Both requests were at first denied, but fortunately this publicity campaign has succeeded in getting both these requests granted.

As always with news stories, some of the most relevant details were omitted.

(I wintered with Renee at McMurdo Station in 2009, and have been in contact with her regarding her current circumstances.)

Re:Ehmm (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37676230)

She had the stroke over 1 month ago and any permanent damage has already been done. It doesn't make sense to risk the lives of rescuers when the regular flight schedule resumes in a few weeks.

Re:Ehmm (1)

crashumbc (1221174) | more than 2 years ago | (#37677562)

Exactly, There's absolutely nothing to be gained by risking lives to go in a week early at this point.

Re:Ehmm (4, Insightful)

Vectormatic (1759674) | more than 2 years ago | (#37677260)

This sob-story was posted on redit a few weeks back, it is nice that her family is trying to get that stroke victim back, but the truth is that flying out to the south pole isnt exactly easy, and once a stroke victim is stabilized, there isnt much to do after the first 24 hours.

I'd be more upset if they risked a three man flight crew in dangerous conditions then if this woman has to wait a few more months

other factors (4, Informative)

Alan R Light (1277886) | more than 2 years ago | (#37677528)

I know Renee personally. In fact, I submitted this story to Slashdot in late September, but it didn't get posted.

There are other factors involved. Renee is aware of the problems with an evacuation this time of year, but was more concerned about being prevented from getting a second medical opinion and being denied a medical attendant on the evacuation flight. She sought publicity upon the advice of her lawyer, who felt this was the only way to pressure the company to do the right thing - and the publicity campaign has worked. Renee is now getting a second medical opinion and will be getting a medical attendant on her evacuation flight.

Polar aviation technology has advanced considerably since 1999, and a Twin Otter can safely land at considerably lower temperatures than an LC-130. You may note that Renee did not ask for an evacuation in August or most of September - merely that a plane be put on standby for an evacuation as soon as possible in October. She didn't earn her Engineering degree or get to be Winter Site Manager by being stupid. There was also concern that the denial of her reasonable request for a second medical opinion, etc., might be retaliation related to some issues with anonymous whistleblowers which she handled.

It should also be noted that some types of stroke can get progressively worse, and that she is currently at a high altitude with low oxygen which might exacerbate the damage. I understand the skepticism, but like I say - she is not stupid.

More information here, though note that this page was established by family members, not Renee herself:

http://www.facebook.com/pages/Evacuate-Renee-Nicole-Douceur-from-Antarctica-Immediately/139354572829055 [facebook.com]

Re:other factors (-1, Flamebait)

crashumbc (1221174) | more than 2 years ago | (#37677582)

No she's an adult who under took a very dangerous assignment with full knowledge of what she was getting herself into. She should honor that responsibility and not try to get others killed...

Lighting. (1)

SuricouRaven (1897204) | more than 2 years ago | (#37676122)

Could you install lights *over* the ice though? Some sort of high-power laser projector on a pole or mounted on a building capable of projecting an image of the landing lights onto the snow.

Re:Lighting. (2)

MichaelSmith (789609) | more than 2 years ago | (#37676154)

Maybe but teh reality is that you would be risking lives to get one person home early and when they got home they would still be a stroke patient. Its hard for some people but some times in an emergency the best thing to do is nothing and the best place to be is where you are. If you don't like that don't go to Antarctica. Its just barely spring here in Melbourne (and in the rest of the southern hemisphere). The sun is creeping south slowly.

Re:Lighting. (1)

SuricouRaven (1897204) | more than 2 years ago | (#37676266)

I wasn't taking about now. It'd take months to design, build, install and test such a device. If it works though, it'd be a useful thing to have next emergency.

Yet nightclubs have hi powered lasers (1)

cheekyboy (598084) | more than 2 years ago | (#37676908)

Your giant u2 concerts have giant lasers, thats enough to light up a virtual run way.

You're only caveat is temperature, but hey, your laser can be inside a building just have it go 'out the window' as such .

Only people who want job security pretend it takes months. You could design a system in a 24hr (3day) burst design session. Ala skunk works 1958.

Those were real engineers, not engineers designing a way to guarantee that their jobs will be valid for 12 years of updates, because documentation is poor.

Hackers can build this in 8 hrs, just give them unlimited online ordering ability.

Re:Lighting. (2)

Alan R Light (1277886) | more than 2 years ago | (#37677600)

They have landed a plane at South Pole in the darkness before.

http://www.polarconservation.org/education/antarctic-evacuations/2001-doctor-evacuated-from-the-south-pole

There is much more to this story than what has been released in the press. Renee was denied a second medical opinion and denied her request for a medical attendant on her evacuation flight. There are also questions of official retaliation for doing her job properly. But those things don't get publicity - and the publicity has helped her get that second medical opinion and the medical attendant.

Re:Lighting. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37676156)

No, thing is, it's all white.
No horizon, so if it's not clear it makes for some really ugly landing scenarios.

The landing lights do more than just mark the edges of the runway, they are directional and give you an approach vector/altitude as well.

Re:Lighting. (1)

Anonymous Freak (16973) | more than 2 years ago | (#37676272)

While that's an idea for the future, that won't help right now - seeing as I doubt any of that just happens to be handy...

that seems unlikely (1)

YesIAmAScript (886271) | more than 2 years ago | (#37676490)

You're talking about trying to mark the runway with reflected light? That is you are going to shine a laser light on the ice and the reflection off will somehow be bright enough to see at a distance?

I doubt that would work. The normal situation has lights which directly emit light.

Re:Lighting. (5, Informative)

djupdal (629381) | more than 2 years ago | (#37676656)

I spent one year as the leader of the Norwegian Antarctic research station (Troll).

We did not have winter flights either, but we had plans for doing it.

We had a set of airport lights we could place along the runway, complete with PAPI lights to guide incoming planes. These were not permanently mounted, but would only require a couple of hours to get in place. I find it odd that Amundsen-Scott does not have something similar.

The real problem is weather, a little bit of wind, and the lights disappear in snow drift. Another problem is that the runway must be cleared of snow, which is a considerable amount of work that is also dependent on the weather.

Re:Lighting. (1)

Reservoir Penguin (611789) | more than 2 years ago | (#37677070)

And now we know how The Thing got out!

Re:Lighting. (1)

maeka (518272) | more than 2 years ago | (#37677348)

How much accumulation does the "runway" see in a year? I would think a glideslope would be easy to install, and could be adjusted up as the ice/snow increases. I would also think a localizer would be possible as well. But, then again, I'm not sure my brain can fathom what a -70 environment is like.
 

Re:Lighting. (2)

djupdal (629381) | more than 2 years ago | (#37677574)

The problem is not the added hight of the snow, but that the snow is very uneven (sastrugi). You can not land a plane with wheels on an unprepared antarctic runway, and airplanes taking off from Cape Town (which is the city closest to the Norwegian station) will not be equipped with skis.

Re:Lighting. (1)

Alan R Light (1277886) | more than 2 years ago | (#37677644)

South Pole does have plans for winter evacuations, and handled an evacuation on 25 April 2001. A Twin Otter could have probably landed at Pole in September.

Whether an evacuation is a good idea or not is another question, and I understand the reluctance to do so - but frankly, there were other factors involved. Renee was being denied a second medical opinion and a medical attendant for her evacuation, possibly for reasons of internal company politics. Fortunately, this publicity has obtained both these things for her.

Re:Lighting. (1)

barry99705 (895337) | more than 2 years ago | (#37677612)

Nothing like laser dazzling the pilot on landing....

She knew about this going in (2)

WegianWarrior (649800) | more than 2 years ago | (#37676144)

When you sign up for a tour of duty to a place like that, you also sign a number of waivers and documents stating that you are aware that there is no bailing out early, and no chance of a rescue flight in winter. I'm sure it must suck to try to recover from a stroke while at the South Pole, but there is no reason to risk the life of others just to get her out - even less now that she is actually recovering.

At least actual transport is fast once it's safe to send it these days; Amundsen and his team spend 99 days going from the coast to the south pole and back, Scott and his team was on the move for about 150 days before succumbing to hunger and cold (in reality succumbing to bad planning and lack of preparation).

Re:She knew about this going in (4, Interesting)

MichaelSmith (789609) | more than 2 years ago | (#37676172)

My uncle applied for work in Antarctica. They gave him really rigorous medical tests and found a tumor. He is alive now (20 years later) because he wanted to be a diesel mechanic in Antarctica.

Too Old to Play in the Snow (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37676176)

She's 58 years old; why did she go there in the first place? People need to think about and understand the risks rather than just jump into something. It's stupid to risk the lives of a crew and her life too by flying in now.

Re:Too Old to Play in the Snow (2)

xheliox (199548) | more than 2 years ago | (#37676226)

Absolutely. Anyone at any age who volunteers to spend time on the South Pole must recognize they have no access to emergency care. I sympathize with her situation, but no more lives should be put at risk to rescue her.

Re:Too Old to Play in the Snow (1)

Alan R Light (1277886) | more than 2 years ago | (#37677678)

Workers in Antarctica tend to be young (before they've had kids) or old (after they've had kids) or social misfits (like me!)

Workers in their 50s are common.

In any case, there were other factors involved - like being denied a second medical opinion or a medical attendant on her evacuation flight - that caused her to seek publicity. Fortunately, she is now getting both - thanks to the publicity.

Sadly, the likely end result of this... (1)

mpthompson (457482) | more than 2 years ago | (#37676182)

... will be that the criteria for residing at the South Pole will be tightened to not include people at risk for common age related conditions -- ie. people over 40 or so. Granted, a stroke can occur at any age, but strokes predominantly occur in older individuals. This means that future qualified people will denied such opportunities because one person couldn't accept the concequences of risks that common sense would dictate are associated with living at such a remote outpost.

Re:Sadly, the likely end result of this... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37676456)

And then we can change the saying to "Don't trust people not admissible to the south pole."

Re:Sadly, the likely end result of this... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37677362)

Whether she (and her family) gracefully accept the risks or not, this incident should lead to a tightening of S. Pole winter-over requirements. The US Antarctic Program does not exist to be an equal opportunity program for the elderly or others with risk factors for isolated, inaccessible living conditions. There are plenty of persons under 50 (or 40) who are fully qualified for any job in the winter-over. The fact that this incident occurred and she obviously (or somehow) passed the winter-over physical shows to a high degree of confidence that the physical standards are too loose. After a certain age (for any activity, except maybe breathing) you have to give it up. I say this as someone over 50 who has had such jobs.

Re:Sadly, the likely end result of this... (2)

Iskender (1040286) | more than 2 years ago | (#37677734)

Someone over 50 can be so good at the job that he/she is the equivalent of two or three "young enough" workers. It could even be that they do look down on older applicants, but decided the younger ones were trash compared to this experienced person.

like no other airfield in the U.S. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37676254)

'It's like no other airfield in the U.S.'
It certainly is.

I may be callous, but... (4, Insightful)

Anonymous Freak (16973) | more than 2 years ago | (#37676262)

She had the stroke a month and a half ago. The next scheduled flight is one week away. Maybe this would have been newsworthy on September 10th, but at this point, if she's functional, she can last another week.

Honestly, how bad would she (and her family back home) feel if they send a "rescue flight" tomorrow, and it crashes on attempted landing, killing the crew? Or how bad would her family feel if it landed successfully, managed to take off again, but then the engines die halfway to the coast due to jelled fuel, killing the crew AND her?

Re:I may be callous, but... (0)

morcego (260031) | more than 2 years ago | (#37676310)

Mod: (-2) Common Sense

Sorry, this is slashdot. Please check your common sense at the door.

Re:I may be callous, but... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37676358)

They would not feel bad at all, they would blame everyone and everything else but themselves and they will feel righteous about it the entire time. They would then probably campaign to prohibit anyone from visiting the south pole because no one else should have to suffer as they have.

Re:I may be callous, but... (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37677634)

*gets up on old man pedestal* THIS IS EXACTLY WHAT IS WRONG WITH PEOPLE TODAY *Steps down*

Why the heck can't anyone take responsibility anymore? I know its human nature but damn, we're taking it to extreme lately.

Re:I may be callous, but... (2)

Miamicanes (730264) | more than 2 years ago | (#37677740)

> She had the stroke a month and a half ago. The next scheduled flight is one week away.
> Maybe this would have been newsworthy on September 10th, but at this point, if she's functional, she can last another week.

I believe her beef at this point was Raytheon's original refusal to send a medical technician on that flight, not the date of the flight itself. She didn't ask for an immediate rescue flight, only one at the first practical opportunity. Remember, the first scheduled flight was scheduled months ago, based on historical weather patterns. It's quite possible that an earlier date might end up being physically viable if she gets lucky. Or maybe not. Either way, she didn't ask them to make a dangerous trip... she asked them to make the first trip a few days early if the weather ends up being better than predicted.

It's kind of like ship traffic into St. Petersburg, Russia. None is ever scheduled for the winter, because nobody knows in advance when the Baltic will ice up. Thus, ships scheduled months ahead of time have conservative scheduling that avoids a several-month window of time when there's likely, but not by any means guaranteed, to be ice that would make the port inaccessible. That doesn't mean a small ship equipped with state of the art sensors couldn't safely navigate into St. Petersburg weeks (or months) before the commercial shipping season begins, it just means that nobody is going to risk delaying a ship full of cargo (with crew getting paid by the day) waiting for the ice to open up in the normal course of business.

IT'S A TRAP (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37676290)

Wait a minute. It's the THING.

It took her over and doesn't know how to operate her body, so it's claiming to have had a stroke so it can get back to the mainland to infect the rest of us...

Re:IT'S A TRAP (1)

khallow (566160) | more than 2 years ago | (#37676438)

I'm not sure I want to associate with easy to operate humans. That sounds like it could be a problem in this scenario.

What's the problem actually (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37676296)

Well at least from october 17 she will have a *plane* to bring her home. I'm on the base of Kerguelen island and while we never have such low temperatures, we only have one supply ship that comes around here four or five times a year and there's just no mean at all to be brought home fast... no airstrip or whatever. Physical isolation is something you know about when you sign up, but it's usually more difficult to accept for relatives than for yourself.

Re:What's the problem actually (1)

Alan R Light (1277886) | more than 2 years ago | (#37677706)

If you're at Kerguelen, why did you even bother to post as an Anonymous Coward? Aren't there, like, only 4 of you?

Anyway, there were other factors involved. See my other posts.

Duh (1)

lucm (889690) | more than 2 years ago | (#37676304)

This reminds me of Ingrid Betancourt; she was warned not to go in the rebel area because she could get kidnapped. She still went to the rebel area and got kidnapped. And we are supposed to feel sorry for her.

For the rest of the world (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37676326)

Here's the conversion chart.

-50 F ~ -46 C
-70 F ~ -57 C

Please DON'T call (4, Informative)

subreality (157447) | more than 2 years ago | (#37676330)

First, email the people on this list and tell them the money saved denying Renee a Medevac flight will not be worth the bad press. Ask them to do the right thing.

Please no. This really isn't about saving money. If that's all it was, they'd do the flight just to head off the bad PR.

Sending a flight to the south pole in adverse conditions costs lives. Figuring a 1 in 15 chance of a crash per round trip and a flight crew of 3, that's 0.2 lives you're paying to airlift her out of there.

That's an acceptable risk for someone who will die unless they're rescued, but that's not the case: she had a stroke; the damage is done. They probably have her on blood thinners now and she's off-duty and taking it easy, which is basically all that they can do for her in a proper hospital to prevent a recurrence. Any rehab therapy she needs can be adequately done by videoconference until they can get a flight down there.

Re:First Aid 101 (2)

thegarbz (1787294) | more than 2 years ago | (#37677144)

What is the very first thing you do in a first aid scenario? You see someone down you stop and assess the situation. You never proceed to help a victim unless its safe to do so or you want to earn a stupidity ..er.. I mean bravery medal.

You go in all mucho and heroic you stand a chance of increasing the number of casualties. No only does that put your stupid arse in a sling, but it also limits the amount of help that will be available for the original casualty when the smarter rescue team arrives.

Sydney Raines is now actively petitioning for something that could have a very good chance of not only getting people killed, but worse still potentially getting people killed and preventing help for the one who currently needs it.

other factors (4, Informative)

Alan R Light (1277886) | more than 2 years ago | (#37677724)

As I've been saying elsewhere, there were other factors involved. Renee was being denied a second medical opinion, and denied a medical attendant on her evacuation flight. Thanks to the publicity, this has now been rectified. Naturally, the relevant facts never make the news. It ain't sexy.

Re: (0, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37676338)

Love, love is a verb
Love is a doing word
Fearless on my breath
Gentle impulsion
Shakes me, makes me lighter
Fearless on my breath
Teardrop on the fire
Fearless on my breath

Re: (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37676548)

Paging Doctor House [imdb.com]

Unfortunately deep spaceflight is WORSE (2)

wisebabo (638845) | more than 2 years ago | (#37676398)

I'm sure(?) that the people at NASA are looking at this and thinking:

"What would this be like if this happened in deep space, with no possibility of rescue or even airdropped (space dropped?) supplies?"

Is there an age restriction on astronauts (to reduce the likelihood of diseases which become more prevalent with age?). Are there any policies about pushing people out of the airlock if they can't be helped (now that would be something interesting to see on wikileaks).

This looks like a bad situation for everyone involved.

Re:Unfortunately deep spaceflight is WORSE (1)

Dark Lord of Ohio (2459854) | more than 2 years ago | (#37676470)

I guess they have at least thrombolytics on board or aspirine to dissolve the blood clots in such cases...

Re:Unfortunately deep spaceflight is WORSE (1)

Sockatume (732728) | more than 2 years ago | (#37676582)

It's actually good news for NASA. Understanding how to anticipate and cope with these sorts of events is going to be important in interplanetary exploration, and the Antarctic outpost is one of the few opportunities they have to learn from similar situations in a living, breathing research environment instead of a laboratory model.

Re:Unfortunately deep spaceflight is WORSE (3, Interesting)

dargaud (518470) | more than 2 years ago | (#37677176)

"What would this be like if this happened in deep space, with no possibility of rescue or even airdropped (space dropped?) supplies?"
Is there an age restriction on astronauts

That's probably the root issue. As someone who has worked for the french, italian and (indirectly) US antarctic [gdargaud.net] programs, and also applied for astronaut, I can say that the tests are very different in the different projects, and weed out a lot more applicants on the astronaut side (no surprise here). At the same time, you can't ask for someone who applies to a mechanics or cook position in Antarctica to be as fit as an athlete. Also the american polar program must follow non-discriminatory guidelines when hiring, meaning there'll be be a lot of obese or other borderline medical issues. It's no surprise that most of the medical problems I've heard about were on american stations. But they also employ a lot more people, so read this with a grain of salt. After all, during my first winterover, the guy who became insane and had to be restrained was the doctor himself... Fun times.

Re:Unfortunately deep spaceflight is WORSE (1)

Alan R Light (1277886) | more than 2 years ago | (#37677742)

Isn't it always the doctor that goes insane?

Well, that's the stereotype, anyway. (Among Antarctic winterovers, that is.)

Re:Unfortunately deep spaceflight is WORSE (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37677434)

"Are there any policies about pushing people out of the airlock if they can't be helped "

!?

i guess (and hope) you're talking about being buried in space NOT throwing poeple who aren't dead yet out the air-lock to preserve resources.

if the former i wouldn't be surprised if there's a procedure in place.

Re:Unfortunately deep spaceflight is WORSE (1)

dbIII (701233) | more than 2 years ago | (#37677548)

there an age restriction on astronauts

No, just a nationality restriction which is relaxed if you give the Russians or Chinese enough money. The last shuttle has flown guys. The current trained astronauts had better hope there won't be an age restriction in a couple of decades or later if manned missions are run again by NASA.
Also they took John Glenn up at age 77 just to see what would happen, so definitely no hard age restrictions, but of course it's all out of NASA's hands now.

how do they know? (2)

Dark Lord of Ohio (2459854) | more than 2 years ago | (#37676460)

How does she know if it was really a stroke? Only by symptoms??? It could be many other diseases from optic neuritis, multiple sclreosis onset... or glaucoma. Did she have a CAT or MRI scan to differentiate? Also if she had stroke and it just affected her vision she may consider herself as very lucky, without thrombolytic therapy. She was also aware that going to South Pole is not like hitchiking in the mountains, no 911 calls. Anyway I wish her well and hope she will recover.

Re:how do they know? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37677058)

With the obvious understanding that we certainly can't know the specifics of this woman's pathology ahead of a comprehensive examination by physicians, you're coming dangerously close to sounding like a physician yourself. Please be advised that Slashdot is populated by persons who have obtained their medical knowledge from the University of Wikipedia, and as such this site represents a hostile environment for anyone attempting to inject a semblance of reasoned analysis of presenting symptoms, however incomplete the source material for such analysis may be.

P.S. I'm not a physician, but I have an interesting background, and you might term me an "interested party." As per the above, I call a spade a spade. Unfortunately, your post will likely be disregarded, while another poster's bullshit "informed opinion" will get modded up. Good times, eh?

panic (3, Insightful)

Tom (822) | more than 2 years ago | (#37676464)

Raines has set up a Web site that urges people to call officials at Raytheon and the National Science Foundation.

With the purpose of what? Endangering more lives? This isn't a rational plea for help, it's irrational panic.

'It's like no other airfield in the U.S." (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37676520)

Yeah, mainly because it's not in the US.

For the metrics among us... (1)

jez9999 (618189) | more than 2 years ago | (#37676590)

-50F is about -45C.

Re:For the metrics among us... (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37677230)

The 95% thank you.

Fuel not the issue (1)

TRRosen (720617) | more than 2 years ago | (#37676628)

It would be easy to mod a plane to use Hydrogen. real issue is the fluids in the hydraulic systems.

Still You think someone would take up the challenge to redesign a plain for the Antarctic environment. A lot of issues to overcome but certainly not impossible.

sounds like an ideal xprize project

Re:Fuel not the issue (1)

dargaud (518470) | more than 2 years ago | (#37677188)

Still You think someone would take up the challenge to redesign a plane for the Antarctic environment.

First it would have to be several, not one. Several different planes are used for different things: flying from NZ/OZ/south Africa/South America to Antarctica, landing on snow/ice/graded pebbles, ferrying cargo or people. Not the same planes at all. For instance the US sells C130 to other nations, but they refuse to sell the ski sleds that allow them to land on snow...

Fulton (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37676752)

They could use a fulton to get her out. That's why it was invented :3

In Soviet Antarctica... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37677032)

In Soviet Antarctica, the doctors deal with it themselves... Seriously, Leonid Rogozov was unable to get help and had some appendix issues, so he removed it himself:
https://secure.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/en/wiki/Leonid_Rogozov

Re:In Soviet Antarctica... (1)

BeaverCleaver (673164) | more than 2 years ago | (#37677180)

That's a hell of a story. What a badass.

Look at her website... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37677202)

if you look at her website... you will notice she is wining about her 'psychological stress' if she would be able to fly at all...

The fact is that she is in perfect health now and knew what she signed up for when she enlisted.
The other people on the station must be getting crazy because of her wining, and I'm sure they'll put her on a plane as soon as it's safe to fly there. The medical staff on the station saved her life, and this is how she says thanks?

The psychological circumstances to be locked up on the south pole, should be compared to those people who are locked in a toiletbox floating around earth (ISS). And it must be hard. Congrats to all the other people over there who are scarifying themselves in the name of science!

'It's like no other airfield in the U.S.,' (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37677280)

As far as I know, the USA has no claims on Antarctica ("The Antarctic"?). Unless pilot Ronnie Smith thinks Antarctica's just north of The Border...which is unfortunately more likely.

Oh noes, no Steve Jobs (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37677340)

We need an iCare app stat!

With all sympathy for the patient, as I know several stroke survivors, it's not the end of the world medically, though it is physically.

The solution is simple (1)

Khyber (864651) | more than 2 years ago | (#37677686)

Green and Red Flares for a temporary runway, heating coils around the tanks to keep temps around -10.

Simple, easy, cheap. Get to it, Raytheon. If your best couldn't think of this solution in less than 5 minutes, quit sending people there, as you are obviously NOT prepared to be responsible.

Load More Comments
Slashdot Login

Need an Account?

Forgot your password?
or Connect with...

Don't worry, we never post anything without your permission.

Submission Text Formatting Tips

We support a small subset of HTML, namely these tags:

  • b
  • i
  • p
  • br
  • a
  • ol
  • ul
  • li
  • dl
  • dt
  • dd
  • em
  • strong
  • tt
  • blockquote
  • div
  • quote
  • ecode

"ecode" can be used for code snippets, for example:

<ecode>    while(1) { do_something(); } </ecode>