What would you do if you were stuck in the Antarctic wilderness and you suddenly developed a need for acute medical care?
That’s exactly what happened to Malcolm Roberts, an engineer who was working in Antarctica in April of 2015. After suffering an internal hemorrhage, Roberts was suddenly in a precarious situation: he needed medical help as soon as possible.
Gastrointestinal bleeding was causing Malcolm to lose large amounts of blood, and if medical professionals didn’t get to him within 24 hours, he would have almost certainly lost his life. But, that’s when the story of Tim Nutbeam comes into play.
Tim Saves the Day
Flying from one Antarctic base to another is no easy feat. There is a lot of preparation involved, and when Tim Nutbeam got the call to depart on an expedition to bring Malcolm Roberts his much-needed blood, he had to jump into action.
This journey would require at least two refueling stops at bases located in disparate locations throughout Antarctica. The biggest challenge for Tim was to keep the precious blood required for Malcolm’s transfusion from freezing. This task meant that Tim had to stay awake for the 24-48 hours that it would take to fly all the way across Antarctica, to the Halley base, where Malcolm was waiting.
As if this wasn’t enough of a trial, during the trip, a volcano erupted in an area close to one of the refueling stations. This meant that yet more time would be tacked on to the expedition. All in all, it took Tim Nutbeam over two and a half days to reach Malcolm.
The Conclusion (It’s a Happy Ending)
When Tim and his crew touched down at the Halley base in Antarctica, the temperature outside was a balmy -30C. After being treated there on-site, Malcolm Roberts was airlifted to a hospital in Chile, where he would go on to make a full recovery.
A lot of lessons were learned during this expedition. As Tim remarked in an interview after the fact, what ended up being more important than preparation for the expedition was confidence in the abilities of Tim and his crew. When push comes to shove, and you need to be able to rely on only your knowledge, intuition, and intestinal fortitude (no pun intended), that’s when the heroes are separated from the commoners. Needless to say, neither Tim Nutbeam nor Malcolm Roberts would ever be the same again.