As many of you may have read, we (the NSF/USAP family) lost a dear member of the team, Dr. Gordon Hamilton, who has been a researcher and clearly beloved by all down here for years. I did not know him but can feel the love and loss around camp. This was a very tragic event. I did not want to “blog” about it until the NSF had time to make a statement and the family could have some time to find out and mourn. Here is the statement made by the NSF.
Gordon, as people refer to him, has done some amazing research so I will let him speak for himself by this link to his profile at the University of Maine. You can find also a list of his publications here as and links to articles about him.
On a more personal note, this news really shook me. I understand the risks of being out here and we have gone through many trainings in town before we head out to our respective field camps. I also am not new to trauma and death as I have been working in the filed of medicine, mostly in Emergency Medicine, for 13 years. What really hit me was that these people I’m with and taking care of aren’t strangers anymore. After less than 2 weeks they are already my field camp family and I cannot imagine losing any of them. I feel prepared in many ways… the UTMB, NSF & USAP program has geared me with medications and supplies that I will need and all the educators I’ve had from PA school, trainings and my years of hands on experience have geared me with the knowledge and skills to deal with whatever comes my way, but these are extremes of environment and isolation. My “clinic” will be about 1000 miles from McMurdo, that’s about 3-4 hours by plane when a plane is available and the weather abides. I might go as far to say that I am probably the most isolated health care provider in the world there, with the closest “hospital” being a small clinic here in McMurdo.
Strangely, this doesn’t scare me but excites me. I’m sure Gordon felt the same way about his work.