Antarctic doctors left out in the cold

Stretcher rescue
Medical professionals and wilderness instructors undertake the course, working together to exchange skills. (Photo: Heath Holden)

Antarctic-bound doctors spent a wet and wild week in the Tasmanian wilderness in July, honing their cold climate and remote medicine skills.

During the eight day Expedition Medicine Winter Course, run by the University of Tasmania and Australian Antarctic Division, participants were challenged to abseil down cliffs and undertake search and rescue scenarios in dark, wet and freezing conditions. Participants also practiced cold injury management, remote area communication and navigation skills, and considered pre-expedition planning and stocking an expedition medical kit.

Each of Australia’s three Antarctic stations, and sub-Antarctic station on Macquarie Island, has a medical practitioner who is responsible for the care and well-being of all expeditioners, with the support of the Antarctic Division’s 24/7 telemedicine systems, connecting them to experts based in Hobart.

The expedition medicine course is open to the public and is offered as part of the University of Tasmania’s Master of Public Health (Remote and Polar Health) course