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October 01, 2011


Hermann Cain warned us this would happen under Obamacare, don't you know?

All of us will have to petition unelected gummint bureaucrats in the basement of the White House for access to basic medical procedures.

In fact, under RomneyCare in Massachusetts, did you know that all residents from that state have to petition their health insurers to be flown TO the South Pole, where all the doctors in the State moved to escape regulation, and are routinely denied care in life threatening situations.

Why, Hermann Cain would be dead if Obamacare had been around during his troubles which, come to think of it, would have freed up one of any number of the other murderous lying whackaloons to lead the Republican Presidential primary this week.

I'll bet if Ms Douceur was a terrorist suspect or an undocumented immigrant, she would be whisked forthwith to safety.

Ernest Shackleton could get the woman out.

Lacking nuclear weapons with which to blow up the world, I offer this comment.


I was chatrtig with Tea Party guy the other day. He told me that socialism meant "From those who have to those who need". He thought that was a very bad thig. I told him that capitalism was "Maximum return for minimum investment, something for nothing being the ideal". He thought that was a good thing.

He also thinks his ideology is more important than human life.

Has America always had so many morally bankrupt people in it? BTW this guy thinks he is a Christian.

Only slightly related:

Auto-appendectomy in the Antarctic: case report

I wonder if Raytheon and the cash-strapped NSF would except penguin jerky in lieu of chickens in exchange for the woman's safe passage and stroke care.

"BTW, this guy thinks he is a Christian."

I think he is, too.

"Auto-appendectomy in the Antarctic:case report."

And THAT surgeon calls himself a Communist!

"accept", but maybe the small print in the lady's health plan read "except".

I signed the petition, I hope others will too.

I am at the South Pole right now. While I sympathize with Renee, I must note that there are a number of distortions and inaccuracies at saverenee.org and in the various comments made by Sydney and Veronica on reddit. Without belaboring the point, the weather here is not and has not been good for landing a plane. The temperature is not the obstacle; the winds, horizontal visibility, surface definition, and cloud heights are, and those have been quite poor for most of the recent past. Since a medevac plane would be flying ten+ hours from Rothera (itself in Antarctica and subject to stormy weather), the confluence of good weather there and a lengthy good forecast here is simply not easy to come by.

At this point, even if the powers that be instantly authorized a medevac flight, the chances that it would get here any earlier than the next "scheduled" flight are much less than 50/50. The "scheduled" aircraft will be deploying soon, to make their long journey south from Canada. While the question of whether a medevac should have been authorized and implemented earlier is an open one (about which I have opinions, but this is not the place for them), the issue of initiating a medevac NOW is basically moot, and by spinning all this up, all that's happening is that Renee's anxiety level is increased, to no good, and possible some ill, end.

For what it's worth, yes, both the McMurdo medevac and the South Pole airdrop WERE expensive, but they were both a great deal easier and less risky than a medevac here would be. That they happened indicates to me that money really isn't the issue here, risk assessment and trade-off is the issue here. Also for what it's worth, the McMurdo medevac quite likely saved the patient's life. While I would OF COURSE hate to be wrong, I think the chance that getting Renee out of here AT MOST a few days earlier than would otherwise be the case will have any material impact on her outcome is remote.

This is not without precedent. While I wintered-over at McMurdo 41 years ago, we had someone at Pole Station bleeding internally who had to ride out the winter. Two years before that at Plateau Station at 'the pole of inaccessibility', the whole station went for weeks operating on cobbled-together generators while various mishaps threatened to leave the station in the dark and frozen. In each case the Navy elected not to try to fly in to the rescue. The explanation I heard at the time cited the difficult problems involved in providing search-and-rescue in the event that the winfly airplane itself crashed. (And crashing in Antarctica - especially during the winter - wasn't a trivial probability event.) It's a brutal, nasty environment down there. Folks on the ice have better communications these days, but they are still very far away.

One thing that isn't clear to me - if the situation is as desperate as SaveRenee.org seems to indicate, why don't they pay for her flight themselves? Even if they think Raytheon should pay for it, if it's a matter of her life, why wouldn't they pony up the cash for a private transport?

Possible answers:

1. It's a matter of principle - Raytheon should pay. I have a hard time believing this, but maybe.

2. It's too expensive.

3. It's too dangerous - this seems most likely to me; private contractors won't make the flight because it is dangerous.

4. They can't for some regulatory reasons (another big possibility)

However I admit I really don't know why they don't do this, but I haven't seen an answer, or even the question asked. Does anyone know why they don't hire a 3rd-party to transport Renee state-side?


I have no first-hand knowledge, but I do know that permission to land aircraft at the Pole -- or even to fly over it -- is VERY tightly controlled. Even in the more easy-going summer it is no easy matter to get permission to land at McMurdo, much less to go from McMurdo to the Pole and back.

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