This week at the station
This week at Mawson: 21 June 2013
Medical training and dental work
Up until now, the Mawson Lay Surgical Assistants (LSAs) have had some piecemeal medical training every fortnight or so on various aspects of operating theatre protocols. This week, they put their training modules together for a mock-up surgical case.
One of the expeditioners happily volunteered to lend his body to science for the morning and act as the 'patient'.
The LSA team were first asked to set up the entire operating theatre as if for a real case in the absence of the doctor. This required them to have to set up all the anaesthetic equipment, all monitors, and all surgical instruments, as well as to scrub up in a sterile manner.
LSA training is a great privilege which is bestowed on a few select volunteers who are taken into the working operating theatres of Royal Hobart Hospital, where they are exposed to real live surgical cases. Under supervision, they are taught the skills of assisting at surgery and anaesthesia. This is a 'very big ask' to expect lay personnel to learn, in two weeks, many of the rudiments of a managing an operating theatre. This is a job which is so far removed from their everyday experiences. Indeed, our Mawson lads performed exceptionally well in this mock-up scenario, and credit is due to their hard work and their interest in, and understanding of, what they learned in those two weeks at the Royal Hobart Hospital. It is also a reflection of the dedication and hard work of the Royal Hobart theatre staff who trained them. Well done, all!
As soon as the 'operation' was over, a dental case was waiting outside theatre. The doctor attends specialist dental training before heading south so that expeditioners have access to treatment, fillings and more if needed during their winter at Mawson.
The surgery is full of interesting gizmos and test devices which rarely get used. A small study was conducted in the past month on the detection of carbon monoxide in combustion fumes to show expeditioners how testing is done and how these devices work.
Found in the station’s recreation room station was an old .303 calibre bullet from a bygone era when seals were occasionally shot and fed to the working dog teams.
A station news article would not be complete without a pretty 'sunset shot', especially now that our last autumn sun was viewed this week.
A power house tour
The main power house, or MPH as it is known, is a favorite haunt of the diesos, as well as the sparkies and plumbers. It is located at the bottom of the station, right on the water's edge with a view extending out over Horseshoe Harbour to West Arm. The four Caterpillar 3306 diesels work in conjunction with the stations wind turbines to provide us with all the electricity we require. The MPH is a self-contained dieso’s paradise - all the spare parts and tools required to carry out repairs and maintenance are within arms reach, and with the temperature a fairly constant 20 degrees, it is one of the more comfortable places to work on station. Observations are recorded twice daily, at 8am and 8pm, by the diesos and sparkies, to monitor things like fluid levels, oil pressures, temperatures and engine load.