Sunday, September 15, 2013

South Pole Medical Center and a refraction sunrise

Jocelyn's and my new book has been published! Our new website is from which the book can be purchased with links to CreateSpace (an Amazon publishing company) and Amazon. It will soon be out on eBooks also. Hint - We get a larger royalty from CreateSpace!

The United States Antarctic Program (USAP) contracts to the University of Texas Medical Board (UTMB) for all medical requirements including National Science Foundation (NSF) mandated deployment Physical Qualifying and medical services at McMurdo, South Pole, and Palmer (on the Antarctic peninsula) stations. Club Med is staffed by a physician and a physician's assistant (PA). 
Club Med

The South Pole Medical Center has a very clean, modern and efficient layout.

To the upper left are the surgical lights and below that is the X-Ray scanning computer. Scans are sent directly to UTMB in Texas for analysis.

All of the Antarctic physicians and PAs are usually given dental training. Unfortunately the current Pole physician and PA did not receive this training due to time constraints. Earlier this season I had a tooth break off at the gum line. I planned on getting this tooth removed by the McMurdo dentist when I travel through in November. But due to budget cuts there will be no summer dentist in McMurdo. An appointment has been arranged to have this tooth removed in Christchurch. It is not really painful, but annoying, and I don't want to fly home to Florida in this condition.

Along with the physician and PA there are seven of us on the medical trauma emergency team. We receive weekly training on trauma with once a month drills. This training will be very valuable on my upcoming bicycle tour. Every winter Polie is on one of the four Emergency Response Teams (ERTs)

A two bed hospital room complete with TV and VCR hanging on the opposite wall. There is a small patient on the right bed.

Portable X-Ray machine.

The lower black portion extends out and over the patient. A reusable film plate captures the image. This is then scanned, image sent to UTMB, then erased for the next job.
Every few weeks we have pizza on Saturday nights. Our excellent chef makes a delicious sourdough crust. This night all the vegetables on this vegetarian pizza were freshly harvested from the greenhouse.

This is the best pizza I have ever had. I really like the goat cheese.

The drift has buried the station sign legs. The snow has blown hundreds of miles over the polar plateau this winter.
In the distance are the RF building on the left, then the GOES and Skynet radome, and the SPTR radome - my work areas. In the foreground are various cargo berms.

Our flag is still flying. All directions point north!

The future is bright in this refraction sunrise taken on Monday September 16th at 3 am. The South Pole is one of the most beautiful places on earth.

The view from my exercise bike in the gym.


  1. Hi Mike! Of course you know your family will be sharing this book with our favorite relatives and friends. Thanks for the hours of tedious editing and selecting the best photos from hundreds....totally awe inspiring account of a very difficult ride.
    Your medical experiences are invaluable and I am impressed with the care you have received. Thanks for sharing your knowledge and excitement for this very extreme weather location. I will never see it with my own eyes, but I feel your fascination with many aspects of your experiences. Take care and keep snapping beautiful pictures....Love always, andee

    1. Thanks Andee. It was a tedious job but well worth it.

      I will return to the Antarctic someday as it is so beautiful and fascinating. I wish everyone could experience the majesty.