The West Australian
Antarctic expedition more than an icy adventure
A leading Australian liver transplant surgeon will venture to an unexplored part of Antarctica to conquer his personal “Everest” and help in the fight against liver disease.
Professor Luc Delriviere is the head of liver surgery at Sir Charles Gairdner Hospital and the founder of the Liver Centre WA.
He has trained extensively around the world and been involved in more than 1000 liver transplants during his career.
In late December, Professor Delriviere and his wife Bronwyn will undertake an expedition that would challenge the most experienced polar adventurers.
More than five years in the planning, the journey will take them to parts of Antarctica which he said had never been seen from the ground.
Their inspiration was Wally Herbert, a British explorer who visited the same area in 1957.
They will travel with a small party of climbers and explorers.
They describe themselves as “experienced enthusiasts”, having completed several icy adventures in Norway and New Zealand.
Professor Delriviere said parts of their destination — the narrow plateaus on the Antarctic peninsula — had been documented only by satellite.
Herbert had reached the plateaus with the help of dog sleds, but they would be hauling the equipment themselves. The hardest part of their month in Antarctica could be getting on and off the plateaus.
“On both sides of the plateaus there is a fall of nearly 2000m and you’ll be able to see all the landscapes, the wildlife and the Weddell Sea, so visually it will be incredibly spectacular,” he said.
“I think it’s both the access to get up on the plateaus and the way out that will be the most challenging because we really need to have good weather to go through these crevice fields.
“If the weather is bad no one can come to help so we’ll have to have large safety margins because any serious injury could be a big problem.”
Professor Delriviere is using the expedition to raise awareness and money for the Liver Foundation of WA.
He said most Australians did not realise the scale of the country’s liver disease problem.
“The health problem we will have over the next 10 or 15 years will be enormous,” he said. “Each year in Australia the incidence of liver cancer increases by 4 per cent. A lot of those patients have never had hepatitis B or C or any other disease, they have simply had fatty liver disease for some time.
“If people lose over 10 per cent of their body weight, their liver can go back to their normal amount of fat content.”
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