Australia's quietest medical clinic (in a good way)

The Davis medical team - One doctor, a plumber, a carpenter, a mechanic and the human multi-tool

Ah, summer! The sweet pong of penguin guano wafting in from yonder! It swarms around the nasal passages and sticks violently to the olfactory bulb. Something organic, something living! What a pleasure.

Anyway, I guess it has recently rounded 12 months since plonking down on this very soil that made me do some cliché reflecting on my time down south. In short, I have been able to maintain a steady stream of adventures heavily supplemented with lamb chops and cookies. Being the doctor, it would only be hypocritical to wag my finger at expeditioners battling the winter bulge. Survival tactics I say! Antarctica has no place for skin and bone.

But anyway, doctoring life. What a life, the only job where the aim is to have nothing for me to do. I have managed to near-perfect a Picasso-like leaf with my latte art and finally located my guitar, for which I am yet to play a single chord on. But yes, I do have the fortunate and wonderful experience of being the station doctor. I don’t exactly have patients lined up out the door but I am gifted with very little complaining about the wait times and billing fees. When I am not seeing expeditioners for their ailments, a large part of my job is to provide education and training to sustain our medical capability and this involves our elite crew of lay surgical assistants. Four heroes of the trade world, braving the ice and cold now steer out of their lane to take on the challenge of supporting Davis station with their knowledge of plumbing, carpentry, mechanics and fitting.

Exposed to the world of the operating theatre whilst undertaking training back in Hobart they have maintained and built upon their skills during regular training here on station. Trauma management, IV lines, plastering, chest drains, surgical airways, craniotomies, suturing, surgical simulation, hypothermia management and wilderness first aid amongst others. Most of this is to assist other expeditioners if they become unwell, but the burr-hole thing was basically me showing them where to put the drill should I happen to take a fall! It’s been an awesome, awesome experience and I am very proud of their wonderful contribution to the Davis Medical team. Good on you lads!

Rhys Harding

Station Doc