Friday, August 17, 2018

911 in Space

Today I attended a talk on medical emergencies in space.  It was so interesting in that many of the methods used to treat medical emergencies on earth cannot be used in space due to the lack of gravity.  Some of the issues are:

1. Blood does not flow out as it does here.  It forms into a huge spherical mass because blood has a higher surface tension than water ant it is a denser material so it is harder to pop which you do not want to do because it means you have lots of smaller spheres.  Scientists created microfiber materials to absorb the blood.

2.  If you need to realign a broken bone, you cannot pull or push on it without the person moving.  You cannot put pressure on anything because you end up pushing yourself away.  In addition, if you try to arrange the body so gravity pulls things down such as in a hanging cast, it does not work.  The surgeon stated that bones tend not to properly heal due to the lack of gravity.

3. If they need to see if a bone is broken, it’s hard to take a x-ray machine with you because of the weight. In addition, astronauts are exposed to enough environmental radiation without being exposed to more.  It could be unhealthy.  They have managed to build ultrasound machines the size of projectors and those are easy to send into space.  Furthermore, ultrasounds give enough information to make certain diagnosis.

4.  Even for medications, they have to be in a form a person can easily take without a ton of water and relying on gravity to get it down.  Even injecting meds has its own problems.

Those are the top 4 problems should a major medical problem arise in space.  I hope you found it as interesting as I did.  Thank you for letting me share.  Let me know what you think, I would love to hear.

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