What am I? (33)

Anything goes, but keep it seemly...

Postby underquark » Sat Jun 30, 2007 4:30 pm

Surgeons cut things out - it's not a problem (to them). One mountaineering expedition doctor got some stick years ago for treating a case of suspected appendicitis with antibiotics and was later reprimanded and told that he should have risked operating half-way up a mountain. Latest I read was that current opinion is with him when you're in that situation. Is it true that the first astronauts all had had appendicectomies?
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Postby MCC » Sun Jul 01, 2007 8:43 am

One thing about surgery on a mountain side is frostbite, the doctor cannot wear gloves to operate.
Then the patient would need to be transported down the mountain.
underquark wrote:...Is it true that the first astronauts all had had appendicectomies?

I'm not sure about the first astronauts into space, but I've come across this item. It looks like it was written before 1997.
Surgery in Space
John R. Bernier
Dr. Jensen, Advisor


You may ask yourself--why is surgery necessary in space? Astronauts have been living and working in space for over 30 years now without a need for surgical procedures to date. They have orbited the Earth for months in Skylab and Mir without incidence.
Studies of Polaris submarine statistics reveal a low probability of situations requiring surgical procedures in a group of relatively young, healthy professionals. The Polaris submarine experience from 1963-1973, revealed 269 surgical cases in 7,650,000 man days, of which 70 were appendectomies. (2) NASA-Johnson Space Center Medical Operations has reviewed the medical experience of Polaris submarine statistics, the Soviet space experience on long-duration missions, Antarctic over wintering statistics, and the U.S. Navy general experience and came to the conclusion that surgical situations in a continuously manned space station of eight astronauts would result in a major surgery every 9 years and appendectomy every 35 years. (2) Having looked at the previous data you could be convinced that surgery in space may be an unnecessary concern.

However, beginning in 1997 the international space community will launch a space station into low Earth orbit. The International Space Station (ISS) will provide a long term facility for living and working in space. The ISS is just the beginning of mans' long term commitment to space. In a relatively short time, mankind will likely be venturing out once again to the Moon, Mars and extended missions beyond.

With long term habitation for a relatively large number of crew member comes an increased risk of disease or injury. The number of space man-hours will drastically increase as construction and habitation of the ISS rapidly unfolds within the next few years. The amount of work involving high-mass hardware will dramatically increase further compounding potential risks to trauma. If and when a serious medical situation does arise, rapid response emergency transportation may not be available or appropriate to safely return the patient to Earth for life saving treatment.

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