Tuesday, December 19, 2006

More Submarine Medical Matters

Late last month, I had described two apendectomies performed in submerged WWII submarines by pharmacist mates (forerunner of Hospital Corpsman). Later, I came to learn that there had been three, not two, and according to this Wikipedia entry, eleven more since. By the time I reported to Seawolf, a medical officer (MD) had not been assigned for over a decade on non-FBM subs.

Submariners should have the deepest appreciation for this institution. NSMRL is conducting a study in cooperation with New York University to review the mortality of over 9,000 submariners who served from 1969 to 1982. Since 1986, enlisted submariners have been screened psychologically with SUBSCREEN. We rarely hear about the fine work done by NSMRL. This submariner could do a much better job writing about it than me. Yet, I will make a brief attempt to cover some very recent stuff.

First, listening to the radio today, I heard a fellow declare that he had been a recent submariner with a USNA (academy officer) in trouble with his CO for biting the ear off a civilian in a mean street fight (he did not make it clear for the rest of the audience when this alleged event happened). Perhaps some of you served with the same guy and can clarify? Personally, I did not appreciate the caller's sloppy characterization of a submariner officer.

Incidentally, while attending a navy school in Newport, RI, we used to play handball for lobster dinners. One of the regulars (from the Greenling) on the opposing team had his ear bitten off one night outside a lobster establishment after winning that night's game. He obviously did not complete the school. He was a great guy, too. I will not mention his name.

Next, the Naval Medical Research Center is overseeing a government-funded study of a blood substitute, Hemopure, that would be given to trauma victims. Many of them are expected to be young men under the influence of alcohol. The battlefield is too uncontrolled to do the research, an FDA spokeswoman said. story here

Finally, Thermonor AS, a Norwegian medical device company with a novel temperature management device to treat stroke, cardiac arrest and hypothermia, announced today that it will deliver five units of these unique devices to researchers at the Naval Submarine Medical Research Lab (NSMRL), Groton, Connecticut for evaluation. NSMRL research has focused on submarine survival, hypothermia and heat stress. story here

Interested? The book pictured above is available here at Amazon, of course, and many more are listed here to pick and choose from, if you are medically trained.


At 20 December, 2006 13:11, Blogger Old Gary said...

I had to laugh after looking at the SUBSCREEN program.

My screening back in 63 was one question:

"Do you REALLY want to be in the submarine service?"

"Yes, sir."


At 20 December, 2006 15:57, Blogger Vigilis said...

Gary, why am I not surprised. Thank you for sharing that humor!


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