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Saturday, April 10, 2004
The annual U.S. Antarctic medevac is underway, with a plane scheduled for McMurdo today.
In the NSF press release, NSF prudently hedged its bets with the statement that the ANG would "evacuate several people from McMurdo Station", while last anyone heard at the lunchtables, the number of evacuees was to be two. Barring the unlikely event that NSF has been able to keep secret information concerning the number of evacuees, The overestimate is most likely a response to the winter 2001 medevac in which a few people were first scheduled for evacuation, but by the time the plane arrived, the number had risen to eleven. Because NSF chose not to comment to the press on the reasons for this large number of evacuees, conspiracy websites had a heyday, theorizing that a virus unleashed from Lake Vostok was wiping out people at Antarctic stations. The truth of the matter is that, after a medevac flight has been scheduled, anyone who seeks medical treatment for any reason whatsoever becomes a liability in the eyes of Raytheon's legal department, so Raytheon takes a "better safe than sorry" approach to terminating contracts mid-season. Paying off a lawsuit for contract violation is cheaper than sending down another plane later in the winter, especially if the doctor is deep in the company pocket and doesn't mind playing along, which makes things especially easy, as does the advent of telemedicine, by which the local McMurdo doctor can be cut out of the loop completely as Tom Yelvington yanks on the strings of some M.D. he purchased at a 2-for-1 sale in order to manufacture whichever diagnosis is legally convenient. Then there's the people who decide they hate their boss and want to leave, or a boss who decides he hates his people and wants to fire some of them. Or the fingees who just plain hate it and want out.
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