Rescued Chile mine workers will face some sort of physical or psychological affects after their ordeal underground for 69 days. Video footage of the miners waving happily into cameras for two months was inspiring and shows the true spirit of the men who were trapped in a Chile mine since August 5. What medical conditions do they face after their dramatic rescue? Dr. Richard Besser on Tuesday morning’s Good Morning America gave some insight as to what the miners are being examined for physically and what they may experience psychologically later on.
Chile Mine Rescue – Vital Signs to Check Physical Condition
Dr. Besser said the first thing medics do once the rescued miners are pulled to the surface, is check the vital signs. The 33 men have been exposed to unsanitary conditions a long period of time and there’s a lot to check for when they examine breathing, heartbeat, and blood pressure stats.
With the breathing, physicians are checking for problems of the lungs. Physical signs of asthma would be present as breathing is counted. Because the miners were exposed to harsh elements of dust and humidity, it was a breeding ground for an asthma condition. Breathing would also be an indication of a possible blood clot. This would have occurred mostly from the the ride in the rescue capsule from the underground to the surface. Blood potentially would have gone from their legs to their lungs on the travel up.
Another physical condition doctors want to cover is heart rate and blood pressure. They want to verify it’s not out of control and make sure the miners are safe.
A dangerous affect would be low blood pressure. Confined in a cramped capsule during the rescue, it gives blood a chance to pool, resulting in less blood flowing to the brain and more to the legs. The miners are fitted in a compression suit to avoid that happening. It physically pulls the blood into their chest and allows heart to pump it into their brain much easier.
Chile Mine Rescue – Psychological Affects, Not Just Physical Face Miners
Psychological ailments are more likely to affect the miners after their dramatic rescue. A major condition that affects so many people after a crisis is post-traumatic stress (PTSD). Aside from that, the miners in Chile could experience depression and guilt. Dr. Besser said the rescued miners are operating a lot on adrenaline from the celebrity attention, but when it goes away they will need the support of family and friends.
The psychological affect of guilt may result because the men have missed out on two months of their lives. While they’ve been trapped below ground, life has gone on and they’ve missed life events. Crisis brings out intense emotions at some point, Dr. Besser said.
The miners have been through one of the most dramatic rescues of our time and the support they get from loved ones after this experience should hopefully protect them from too many psychological affects. From the footage in Chile, they all appear well physically. An inspiring spirit certainly helps.
Source: Good Morning America, Oct. 13, 2010 edition