Mongol Derby sponsors Prometheus Medics Race Diary – Day 5

Deb treats a patient by the light of her head-torch

Deb treats a patient by the light of her head-torch

by Deb Swann
Day five of the Mongol Derby 2013 and the medical team has had a busy and eventful twenty-four hours.

Yesterday evening, Medic1 and Medic 2 managed to meet, albeit briefly, at Urtuu 9, which is nestled beside a huge, crystal clear lake. We had a fish supper which made a happy change to mutton and noodles. I (Deb) was exchanged from Medic 2 vehicle back to Medic 1, and we made our way to Urtuu 12, which took about two and a half hours to get to via mud track, in the dark.

James stayed at Urtuu 9 and ended up treating a rider for dehydration. The rider required an intra-venous infusion to rehydrate. We’re glad to report that James’ treatment got the rider back in the saddle today.

As we made our way to Urtuu 12 we received a call to advise us that a young female rider had become ill with gastrointestinal problems and required medical attention. Our driver went from cautious to turbo in seconds and we made good time to get to her.

When we arrived we found the young rider tucked up in a ger, having been looked after by Harry McKercher (Chief Vet), the herders and other riders.

We worked together as a team to assess the rider and established that she required medication and intra-venous fluids. All of this was done in the darkness of the ger as there was no light. We used head torches so we could see what we were doing.

Fortunately, the rider felt much better and slept well through the night. She managed to get up and out on a horse by 7am the next day. This just shows how determined some of the riders are to complete this endurance race.

Today we made our way up the race line to Urtuu 12. As we travelled across a flood plane, the vehicle got stuck in the mud. We did everything we could to release the jeep from its sinking quagmire. Chris gathered rocks and pieces of wood that he put under the wheels to provide traction and leverage in an attempt to enable the vehicle to manoeuvre out of the mud with little success. We put in a call to HQ using the satellite phone to ask for assistance as having a medic vehicle out of action meant that we could not attend any potential emergency.

Due to the remoteness of the Steppe, it took almost two hours before Richard Dunwoody and his crew happened upon us. Richard’s driver set to work to release the Land Cruiser just as the ABC film crew arrived, who had been dispatched to help us too.

Once released we got to our destination and checked in with James who had been busy attending three ‘help’ calls and treating various riders at different Urtuus with heat exhaustion, dehydration and minor injuries. Good job we had our trusty paramedic to save
the day whilst we were stuck.

We travelled to our current Urtuu (15) at dusk and watched the sun go down through a dramatic skyline over the Steppe. The views were incredible and indescribable. The vastness and remoteness of this place is breathtaking.