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Mongol Derby 2015 Medics Blog 09/08/2015

(Medic Mike)

Just as we were about to set up for the night at horse station (Urtuu) 13,  we received a call on the satellite phone from Derby HQ alerting us about a rider between Urtuus 12 and 13, who had not moved for some time. All riders are tracked using a SPOT tracker device that feeds information of their location every 15 minutes to Derby HQ. 

We were told that the closest vet at Urtuu 12 had gone out to get the rider and bring her back to Urtuu 12. We gathered our driver and interpretor and rushed across the Steppe to the Urtuu. 

We knew who the rider was and had treated her a couple of times over the course of the race. As we made our way to her, we ran through likely scenarios of what her condition could be and went through worst case presentations and treatment plans for them. 

The no. 1 prediction was dehydration and heat exhaustion. 

We got to the Urtuu before she arrived with Pete the vet. We had set up a mini treatment area in one of the gers where we helped her to lie down. She was confused, breathing fast, had a fast heart rate and was very dry. Her blood pressure and blood sugar levels were normal and her temperature was just within normal range. 

I set about putting a cannula into her arm whilst Deb prepared the fluids, which we gave rapidly. She quickly improved, but was vomiting from heat exhaustion. As she improved, she was able to hold down small sips of water. 

I stayed in the ger with her and had to treat her through the night as she started to vomit again. By the morning, she was much improved and was able to keep food down.....decent, wholesome food such as Pringles, an apple and Coca Cola. 

Later on in the morning, we were joined by Carl. It was great to see him. He said he hasn't stopped smiling since he arrived on the Steppe. I think he may have ‘Steppe Fever’; an addictive condition where the magnificent ever-changing landscape of Mongolia and the generosity and kindness of the Mongolian people gets to the core of your being, where you will never be the same again. 

We plundered each other’s kit; I mean, exchanged kit and had a 'medic huddle' to discuss our patient. We all agreed that she could not continue with the race, which must have been heartbreaking for her, but we could not allow her to continue and put her health in danger. 

Medic 2 said our goodbyes to Medic 1 and departed for Urtuu 17, into the hills and valleys where tales of wolves prowling the area have got our imaginations racing. The journey wasn't supposed to take as long as it did, but our driver had to get fuel. The first town (Soum) we stopped at had no power, so we drove for 60 km to the next gas station. Fortunately, they had fuel and power. 

We are now embedded into Urtuu 17 overlooking alpine views covered by stormy skies.