FrontierwatchNews and Commentary for Antarctic Stations
Report an incident, forward a memo, or make an observation about the state of the station.
If you work in Antarctica, you are the eyes and ears of Frontierwatch. Anonymity assured.
Friday, May 07, 2004
As most of us already know, one of the evacuees on the recent McMurdo medevac did not want to be evacuated. Here is the perspective of one of his friends:
"As the sole PC tech in McMurdo (we have roughly
"Upon waking, he was given Haldol, a drug given to schizophrenics with myriad side effects that range from Parkinson-like symptoms (that can be permanent), to insomnia and drooling. (Haloperidol is the actual drug name). None of these side effects were discussed with [C], in fact, they didn't even tell him what they were giving him. At first he didn't ask because he was groggy from sleeping for almost 2 days and trying to be a good little patient. But he started acting very strange, doing the "thorazine shuffle" (I'm sure you've seen 'One Flew Over the Cuckoo's nest'), having a hard time keeping his thoughts organized, and he just wasn't himself. So he asked about the meds, and when the Doc told him what she'd given him, he wanted to stop taking them. She said if he didn't comply with treatment, he'd need to be medevac'd out. He spit the pills out, but later ate them anyway because he didn't want to leave. He was all screwed up again, so he stopped taking the Haldol and was back to normal in a couple of days. He was sleeping normally, getting caught up with work, drinking less, and back to the same old [C] I've known for years. The Doc was still talking medevac. [C] talked to the RPSC and NSF Station managers, Dr. Nicoletti, Dr. Shemenski, and let everyone know he wanted to stay, that he felt better, that he would quit drinking if that's what it took for him to stay. She set up a video teleconference with a psychiatrist in Texas, I actually sat in on it at his request. At the end of their conversation the psychiatrist said that he saw no indication that [C] was schizophrenic or bi-polar and saw no need for a medevac.
"Then another guy got sick, and once that plane was coming, [C], who was working and sleeping and back to normal, was going to be on it. He wrote formal letters and followed the RPSC procedure for disputing the action and never heard a word back. He asked for a copy of his medical records and the release form contained a paragraph that stated (I'm paraphrasing here but can get you a copy of it) "I won't use my medical records for any purpose other than treatment for my 'condition'" He said he'd sign it if that paragraph was ommitted, no dice. He still hasn't gotten a copy of his medical records.
"He tried to stay, but once that plane got here, he was on it. He was told that he'd be on his own in Christchruch, but the flight nurse, without giving him his plane ticket or bags, and without advance warning, drove him straight to a mental hospital. There he was given yet another psych eval, with the RPSC flight nurse in the room, and the psychiatrist told him there was no indication of mental illness. The RPSC flight nurse then asked to speak to the psychiatrist in private, and [C] saw them writing the medical report together, then they came back in the room and referred him to yet another doctor.
"That's how it all went down. Now there is a general feeling of mistrust in McMurdo of the local medical staff."
(Big Dead Place solicited the perspective of the McMurdo doctor without reply.)
Got news from one of the stations? Send it to Big Dead Place. Do you witness interesting Antarctic activities that somehow just don't seem sensational enough for Newsweek or People magazine? Send them to Big Dead Place. Have you ever wondered why a hundred media events overshadow millions of daily events? Because you didn't yet write to Big Dead Place. You know things. We promise anonymity.
ArchivesMainbody 2002 thru Mainbody 2004
March 2004 Mainbody 2002 thru Mainbody 2004 April 2004 Mainbody 2002 thru Mainbody 2004 May 2004 Mainbody 2002 thru Mainbody 2004 June 2004 Mainbody 2002 thru Mainbody 2004 July 2004 Mainbody 2002 thru Mainbody 2004 August 2004 Mainbody 2002 thru Mainbody 2004 September 2004 Mainbody 2002 thru Mainbody 2004 October 2004 Mainbody 2002 thru Mainbody 2004 November 2004 Mainbody 2002 thru Mainbody 2004 December 2004 Mainbody 2002 thru Mainbody 2004 January 2005 Mainbody 2002 thru Mainbody 2004 February 2005 Mainbody 2002 thru Mainbody 2004 March 2005 Mainbody 2002 thru Mainbody 2004 May 2005 Mainbody 2002 thru Mainbody 2004 November 2006 Mainbody 2002 thru Mainbody 2004 December 2006 Mainbody 2002 thru Mainbody 2004 January 2007 Mainbody 2002 thru Mainbody 2004