On the rocks with a twist

A great interview with Dr Henry Guly, a medical doctor who has been researching medicine in the so-called ‘heroic age’ of Antarctic exploration, appeared on the Wellcome Science blog on 28 Nov 2012.

Dr Henry Guly from Derriford Hospital, Plymouth, has done extensive research into many of the medical issues associated with exploring the Antarctic, including alcoholism. He told me more about this less than obvious form of rehab and whether it actually worked.

The first case Dr Guly described was Dr Alistair Forbes Mackay, a Scottish surgeon and polar explorer. He accompanied Ernest Shackleton, a leading British explorer, on one of his most high-profile journeys towards the South Pole. As the expedition doctor, Forbes Mackay had a lot of responsibility but wasn’t always the most serious companion. He overindulged several times on the expedition, and seemed to become a bit of a ‘class clown’. One mid-winter, Shackleton’s crew were celebrating with a drink when they wondered where Forbes Mackay had got to. He was found in bed having drunk nearly an entire bottle of whiskey, missing most of the party.

Read more here.

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