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The Roaming ER

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It appears that life is more than blisters and foot care. Though that is an important part of a race that keeps people pounding their feet in 100 degree weather for most of the day. In my travels, I've noticed a need for medical care in the villages and for locals.

Here, in the Sahara Desert, the Bedouins comprise most of the population and are isolated from the major hospitals in Cairo. At our medical tent, located at the overnight camp of racers, the locals stopped by together. The medical complaints were varied from abdominal pain to runny noses. Most of the complaints were bread and butter emergency medicine but complicated by our lack of diagnostic and therapeutic tools. Just read Dr. Auerbach's blog for a sample.

Interestingly, one policeman with abdominal pain had a belly that was so tender to touch that it seemed like appendicitis. Another doctor on my team saw him and urged him to make the long drive to a nearby hospital for evaluation. There, his appendix was taken out without a CT scan and the doctors concluded that he did have appendicitis. It was good that we were able to diagnose him early because untreated appendicitis can have a mortality rate upwards of 15%.

I'm getting used to my new ER, located among limestone towers, cashmere soft sand, and racing tents. Though I spend much of the time working, I don't have any complaints.



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About the Author

The Stanford Emergency Room is the center of emergency care at Stanford University.

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