Telemedical experiences at an Antarctic station

Hyer, Randall N.
March 1999
Journal of Telemedicine & Telecare;Mar1999 Supplement 1, Vol. 5, p87
Academic Journal
Wintering-over in Antarctica represents a physician's most remote and inaccessible scenario, apart from a space station. Because of the harsh and unpredictable winter weather, Antarctic stations are typically inaccessible for over six months of the year. Telephone and fax communication, and recently other forms of telemedicine, have provided vital links to specialists. The author was the sole physician for more than 250 people wintering-over during the 1995 austral winter at McMurdo Station. There were several instances of serious or life-threatening illness where the author relied on teleconsultation. These cases included new-onset coronary artery disease, posterior hip dislocation, complicated Colles' fracture and acute appendicitis. There were also numerous consultations for non-emergency clinical presentations normally managed by specialists. Telemedicine was a crucial link to specialists from the remote and inaccessible environment of Antarctica.


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