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A recenct article on the BBC news got me wondering about Astronauts in the ISS. technically they are fewer miles from the closest hospital, but the transportation is bit more complex.

Imagine that you had to remove your appendix to live in your hometown – and your family had to do the same.

That’s the only option for long-term residents – even the children – of Villas Las Estrellas, one of the few settlements in Antarctica where some people live for years rather than weeks or months.

Appendix removal is a necessary precaution for the handful of people who stay longer-term because the nearest major hospital is more than 1,000km (625 miles) away, past the tip of King George Island and on the other side of the Southern Ocean’s icy swell. There are only a few doctors on base, and none are specialist surgeons.

Do Astronauts have their appendix removed, before going to space?

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    $\begingroup$ Heh, "only option" - as if people haven't lived for thousands of years before medical care was available. One can always take the risk also.. $\endgroup$ – jpa Sep 4 '18 at 14:20
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    $\begingroup$ @jpa maybe it is more appropriate to say people have been dying for thousands of years without medical care. A bit out of scope but I think the Antarctica practice is for the benefit of rescue workers. People die trying to get others to medical assistance. Appendicitis is 100% preventable. $\endgroup$ – James Jenkins Sep 4 '18 at 14:46
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    $\begingroup$ @jpa There are a lot of things that happened for "thousands of years" that I'm glad don't happen now. $\endgroup$ – Lightness Races with Monica Sep 4 '18 at 17:31
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    $\begingroup$ @computercarguy You can't have an inflamed appendix if it has been removed. I don't know if that really needs a source. $\endgroup$ – Moyli Sep 4 '18 at 20:15
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    $\begingroup$ Just for the record: in 1961, a Russian doctor called Leonid Rogozov was at an Antarctic base when he developed appendicitis. No one was able to operate on him, and due to bad weather it was not possible to fly him to another place, so he had no choice but to operate on himself, with the others holding a mirror and handing him the tools. He succeeded and survived. Not really an option I'd rely on, but at least it makes for a nice story! $\endgroup$ – Fabio says Reinstate Monica Sep 4 '18 at 21:01
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No, but it is being considered, in particular for long duration deep space missions like going to the Moon. ISS astronauts could return to Earth in a short enough period of time that they could receive the medical care required if needed. Also being considered is removing one's gall bladder prior to this long duration mission.

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    $\begingroup$ Might become a moot point with advances in telerobotic surgery, though, which is only a couple of years away. (Which, however, we have been told for a couple of couple of years now :-D ) $\endgroup$ – Jörg W Mittag Sep 4 '18 at 12:33
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    $\begingroup$ Most of the telerobotics I've seen involve doing a remote surgery, with a person in one location doing the work via a robot. I doubt that would work with a multiple minute light delay... $\endgroup$ – PearsonArtPhoto Sep 4 '18 at 12:36
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    $\begingroup$ Telerobotic surgery has been a couple of years away for a long time @JörgWMittag. Surgery in zero and low g is not something we fully understand, and would need to be avoided. $\endgroup$ – GdD Sep 4 '18 at 13:04
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    $\begingroup$ I’m disappointed the answer isn’t “emergency surgery is part of the astronauts’ training”. $\endgroup$ – Emil Jeřábek supports Monica Sep 4 '18 at 13:53
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    $\begingroup$ @EmilJeřábek Unless it's an immediately life-threatening condition (which they are trained to deal with) it's safer to deorbit the patient. Long duration space missions, obviously, won't have this option. $\endgroup$ – Organic Marble Sep 4 '18 at 14:07

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