Sutton explorer hails Cambridgeshire medics after Arctic health scare

12:57 10 January 2013

Justin in the Arctic

Justin in the Arctic

Archant

SUTTON explorer Justin Miles owes his life to Cambridgeshire medics after he was struck down with a potentially life-threatening condition while thousands of miles from home and facing temperatures more than 50 degrees below freezing.

Camped at the edge of the arctic with fellow explorer Alex Hibbert back in December, Justin suddenly felt a crippling pain in his abdomen and was unable to move any further.

As a long-time supporter of Magpas however, Justin was given access to an on-call doctor free of charge and managed to get through to Dr Rod Mackenzie back in Cambridgeshire on his satellite phone.

With the help of friend Alex, Dr Rod was able to diagnose Justin with a severe epigastric hernia which, if left untreated, could possibly poison his bloodstream and he was urged to return home as soon as possible.

Abandoning plans for their 900-mile trek, the duo managed to return to the UK and Justin, 39, is now awaiting surgery, though he has vowed to return to the arctic and complete the exploration.

He said: “I can’t tell you how lucky we were to have Magpas on board. I probably would have just put it down to a muscle injury and plodded on which could have led to an awful situation.

“Dr Rod was superb. He talked us both through a fast and efficient field examination. 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”.

Dr Rod Mackenzie added: “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: that’s what we do at Magpas. Most importantly, it was great that we were able to intervene and we managed to stop Justin’s condition from deteriorating - especially when he was so remote from help.”

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