Arctic explorer saved by phone
An Arctic explorer’s life was saved after he phoned Cambridgeshire medical charity Magpas for help when he fell ill in the frozen wasteland. Professional explorer Justin Miles, from Sutton near Ramsey, began a three month expedition to explore a new route to the North Pole last month.
Justin and his co- explorer Alex Hibbert, pitched into the full force of an Arctic winter and faced temperatures of minus fifty or colder, as they hauled everything they needed across unpredictable ice, ready to cover over 900 miles in complete darkness.
But Justin was taken ill two days from the nearest town in Greenland, when he suddenly experienced an excruciating pain in his abdomen. The explorers had no choice but to try their satellite phone and call the UK for help. Justin, who had supported Magpas in the past, called A& E consultant Dr Rod Mackenzie who was on call that evening. When his mobile rang, DrMackenzie was in his car. After an intense 20- minute conversation, Dr Mackenzie told Justin he had a potentially fatal condition, if left untreated.
Justin had a severe epigastric hernia, had he not ended his expedition there and then, there was a strong likelihood his bloodstream would have been poisoned.
Justin is now back in the UK where he is a waiting surgery. He and Alex plan to recommence their arctic mission later this year.
DrMackenzie said: “I was a little surprised when I received the call. I obviously knew that we were going to support Justin and Alex, but I wasn’t expecting the phone to ring so early on in the expedition. I just did my job, which is to sort out serious problems.”
Justin said:“I can’t tell you how lucky we were to have Magpas on board. Dr Mackenzie,, was superb. I was in a tremendous amount of pain at that point, but the bloody- minded aspect of me wasn’t really prepared to stop. It was only when Rod spelled out the potential consequences that Alex and I realised turning back was the safest option”.