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Monday, September 25th 2006

What's Safer Than Surgery?

Surgery in the vomit comet.

Harnessed to the walls, their surgical tools moored down with magnets, a team of French doctors are to attempt the world’s first human operation in zero-gravity on Wednesday. It will serve as a test for performing surgery in space.

Working inside a custom-made operating block, three surgeons, backed by two anaesthetists and a team of army parachutists, will remove a fatty tumour from the forearm of an intrepid volunteer over the course of a three-hour flight.

Miniature surgical tools, held in place with magnets placed around the patient’s stretcher, will be used to adapt to the reduced size of the operating theatre, which was designed by a French elevator manufacturer.

They’re kidding right? How can they justify the increased risk to the patient? Who signed up for this? And what type of operation is this? And finally, a french elevator manufacturer? This is like a bad SNL skit.

Certainly increased manned space missions (something I’m very interested in) will require a larger medical prescence. A mission to Mars will almost certainly have to have a physician on board. But, this is their justification for this attempt?

“Today more than 400 people have already travelled into space. The chances of injuries occurring during missions will become ever greater – and to bring a wounded person back to Earth for treatment is both risky for them and expensive,” he explains.

His colleague Martin hopes one day to work with the ESA to develop an operating block for a future Moon base.

World space agencies hope that by 2020 a permanently inhabited base can be established on the Moon, to conduct research, exploit lunar resources, learn to live off the lunar land and test technologies for voyages to Mars.

“Wheee! Blood Pressure Looks Good.”

H/T Slashdot