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Article
July 20, 1957

MEDICAL NOTES ON A GREENLAND ICE CAP EXPEDITION

Author Affiliations

Upton, N. Y.

Assistant Pathologist, Medical Department, Division of Experimental Pathology, Brookhaven National Laboratory.

JAMA. 1957;164(12):1314-1317. doi:10.1001/jama.1957.02980120018005
Abstract

• Six men were isolated for 100 days, during which they traveled almost 1,200 miles, in parts of Greenland where the temperatures ranged from 31 to —30 F at altitudes up to 12,000 ft. The most frequent disease or complaint was respiratory, particularly sinusitis. All members of the group showed a sudden fall of hemoglobin level and red blood cell count soon after setting out. In one man the hemoglobin level was less than 10 Gm. per 100 cc., and this occurred despite excellent food. Diarrhea, which is particularly unpleasant in polar regions, occurred in three instances. A single case of disease resembling influenza followed three days after the receipt of some supplies by air drop. Minor personality clashes occurred, but there were no major maladjustments. Morale was lowest when activities and demands on the individual were least; it was improved by radio contacts with the outside world. The drugs most frequently used were aspirin, for headache, and phenylephrine hydrochloride for sinusitis. On the basis of this experience a list of supplies for a medical emergency kit is proposed; a more extensive list gives the essential items for an emergency medical kit which, in the hands of a physician, should meet the demands of almost any medical, surgical, or orthopedic problem in the field.

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