You can use your existing Medical Independent, MediLearning or PharmacistCPD account to log in.


Medicalindependent.ie is Ireland's only investigative medical news website for doctors, healthcare professionals and anyone with an interest in health issues.

Established in 2010, along with its sister publication The Medical Independent, our stated aim is to investigate and analyse the major issues affecting healthcare and the medical profession in Ireland. The Medical Independent has won a number of awards for its investigative journalism, and its stories are frequently picked up by national digital, broadcast and print media. The Medical Independent is published by GreenCross Publishing.

Address: Top Floor, 111 Rathmines Road Lr, Dublin 6

Tel: 353 (01) 441 0024

GreenCross Publishing is owned by Graham Cooke.


The benefits of registering: only registered users:
  • receive the ecCopy two days prior to the printed edition.
  • have automatic access to our free CPD sites.
  • can partake in our online MCQs.
  • can enter our online sports quiz.

Sign up now for ease of access to The Medical Independent, Ireland’s most frequently published medical newspaper, delivering award-winning news and investigative reporting.

Download the new Mindo app for both IOS & Android.

  • Get notified when a story goes live
  • Access Premium Content
  • Read Offline
 
[the_ad_placement id="main-ldb-public"]
[the_ad_placement id="main-ldb-mobile-public"]

You are reading 1 of 2 free-access articles allowed for 30 days

Taking medicine to extremes

By Dermot - 06th Dec 2016 | 6 views

There are not many conferences where you can learn jaw wiring, ultrasound training, and interosseous access in one day and spend the next listening to astronauts, ultra athletes, and marine biologists speak about medicine that the average hospital doctor will never encounter.

The International World Extreme Medicine Conference 2016 took place recently in Edinburgh, Scotland. This annual event is a diverse gathering of adventurers, career break enthusiasts, and remote medicine specialists. It is an international mix of attendees with army doctors and flight surgeons chatting to GPs and paramedics who regularly deploy to some of the most remote and unstable parts of the world with Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF), Raleigh International or the Red Cross.

<h3 class=”subheadMIstyles”>Medics under fire</h3>

Mr David Nott, recently honoured by the British Queen with an OBE for his career working in the world’s most extreme warzones, opened the conference discussing his recent work as a general and trauma surgeon in Aleppo, Syria. An inspirational man who has been working in conflict zones for two decades brought a room full of medics on a vivid tour describing the realities of Syrian hospitals today.

For most it was an assault on the senses, even for experienced trauma and emergency medicine doctors, which stimulated concerned debates about the escalating targeting of medical professionals and hospitals in modern warfare. Out of such conversations has come a new lobby group of doctors working under these extreme circumstances called Doctors Under Fire, which was officially launched at the conference. It is aiming to bring political pressure on all governments currently involved in Syria to stop the targeting of medical facilities and medical personnel.

The conference is four days in duration with a specific focus for each day. Day-one is disaster and humanitarian medicine; day-two examines extreme expedition and wilderness medicine; day-three focuses on human endurance and sports medicine; and day-four centres on pre-hospital medicine.

Heading up discussions on the NASA Extreme Environment Mission Operations (NEEMO) project, the world’s largest underwater laboratory, was Irishman Dr Marc Ó Gríofa, a medic and aquanaut. On the sea floor off the Florida Keys, this underwater laboratory houses scientists and doctors who conduct experiments and examine the psychological effects of a restricted environment on the participants. There is no fast evacuation available in an emergency as the decompression cycle to reach the surface takes 15 hours. Therefore, the medics must manage medical emergencies in a way which can be implemented at depth with restricted equipment.

<h3 class=”subheadMIstyles”>Antarctica</h3>

Have you ever imagined living in Antarctica? Dr Beth Healey spent a year as the European Space Agency (ESA) doctor living at Concordia station, Antarctica, where ESA and the British Antarctic Survey are conducting experiments in the most inhospitable environment on earth.

She talked about the challenges of spending nine months in complete isolation, four of them in total darkness and the psychological pressure of being the only doctor for the crew stationed at Concordia over the Antarctic winter with no possibility of evacuation in emergencies.

Dr Mike Barratt, an astronaut, flight surgeon and former head of NASA’s human research programme, gave a stirring introduction to space medicine. He taught a room full of novices about the effects of cosmic radiation on the human body, how to do CPR without the aid of gravity, and NASA’s imminent plans for a mission to Mars.

The recruiters at the extreme medicine conference are not trying to sell traditional hospital packages. Varied opportunities for GPs, consultants, and registrars in emergency medicine, anaesthesia, and surgery were available with flying doctors services in Australia, as well as with Raleigh International, MSF, Rubicon, and the British Army.

<h3 class=”subheadMIstyles”>Collaboration</h3>

On the final day of the conference, attendees heard the story of a young woman with undiagnosed long QT syndrome who suffered a cardiac arrest and died while at the gym. A defibrillator was left next to her at the scene but never used as none of the staff had been trained in its usage.

Her paramedic brother-in-law, Mr Eoin Walker, has been galvanised by her death into starting a campaign in the UK for the public to be trained in effective CPR and defibrillator use.

He invited another young woman to the stage to talk about her cardiac arrest while shopping on Oxford Street in London. Her story differed in that she was immediately attended by passers-by who initiated CPR and defibrillation.

Two similar situations with such vastly different outcomes show what a public health campaign demonstrating good quality CPR and defibrillator use could potentially do.

The collaboration of medics and allied health professionals working at the extreme edges of medicine gave rise to ambitious ideas and new ventures over the four-day period. It left attendees overwhelmed with the possibilities available to those with a medical degree and a sense of adventure. Plenty of food for thought before next year’s conference.

If anyone is looking for me I’ll probably be in Costa Rica.

<em>@lisa_mcnamee</em>

Visit www.extrememedicineexpo.com for further information.

Leave a Reply

[the_ad_placement id="main-ldb-public-2"]
[the_ad_placement id="main-ldb-mobile-public-2"]
Latest Issue
The Medical Independent – 24 June 2021

You need to be logged in to access this content. Please login or sign up using the links below.

[the_ad_placement id="main-mpu-public"]
Most Read
[the_ad_placement id="main-ldb-public-2"]
[the_ad_placement id="main-ldb-mobile-public-2"]