Monday, September 5, 2016

"The Grim and Gory Reality of Surgery in Space"

BBC from last From November:

Only one astronaut, Italian Luca Parmitano, has come close to serious injury after nearly drowning after water leaked into his helmet during a spacewalk.


“One of the challenges we have is liquid containment,” says Barratt. “So if you have a vein that’s leaking, surface tension will cause the blood to adhere to the surface you’re operating on, rather than pool in a gutter on the ground.”

That is not the worst bit. “If you nick an artery,” he explains, “there’s enough pressure in it that blood will fly up into the atmosphere and get in the way of your field of view – that’s a huge issue for us.”


There are also concerns about pain control. “Using an inhaled anaesthetic in a tightly controlled environment is very difficult,” warns Barratt. “Our contaminant removal system can’t deal with it so we have to develop alternate means.”