After a few days attending meetings, lectures and the odd (lots of!) PowerPoint presentations about BAS- about which tonnes of information can be found here, we then began our emergency medical training. Think first aid but a bit more amped up! When out in Antarctica your access to hospitals is a little limited and, in the words of our own Halley Doctor, for nine months of the year it’s easier to get someone off the International Space Station than it is to get them out of Halley! So we had to begin learning how to deal with medical emergencies- something we will continue to do throughout our stay, and indeed all the way down there whilst on the boat, with our weekly “Doc Schools”.
The course was very interesting and taught us the basics of dealing with the sort of nasty things that might occur such as burns, shock, carbon monoxide poisoning, hypothermia, head, back and body injuries, and frostbite. This included learning how to inject people, how to use the defibrillator (CLEAR!) and how to perform CPR amongst many other things. The course culminated in us dealing with a huge scene on the Girton lawn reminiscent of the TV show Casualty, with many screaming and made-up actors. Visiting one area after another we had to try not to kill, maim or leave paralysed for life a number of victims of fairly nasty accidents. All done under the watchful eye of the brilliant staff of the British Antarctic Survey Medical Unit (BASMU) who taught us. Overall the course was, by turns, fun, funny, interesting and downright scary.
One thing we will all take away from the course was A,B,C,D,E
A huge thanks to all those from BASMU who shared their skills with us.