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The Mongol Derby Begins 7th August 2012

For the 4th year running, Prometheus is providing the medical support for the Mongol Derby. As part of this support, Prometheus have sent two ExpeMed medics to Mongolia; Kate Owen SpR Paramedic, Deb Swann Emergency Nurse Practitioner; and Dr Andy Challen, a Senior Emergency Medicine Registrar. We caught up with Kate a few days before her departure to see how she was feeling:

“Well I knew nothing at all about Mongolia until I was asked to become a medic for the Mongol Derby. The country is vast and varied and who knows where the race will take us? But I've heard the locals are amazing and so friendly. I'm looking forward to the whole experience. How different will it be? I say very! In my day job as a Paramedic, I have access to local hospitals, trauma units and major trauma centres within an hour. The challenging environment we're about to embrace will see med evacuations much longer than my normal routes.

I keep myself fit and always ensure my medical knowledge is current and up to speed. I'm looking forward to this expedition and wishing the riders good luck.”

The three medics will be travelling alongside the riders in 2 vehicles, and camping with the locals in the Urtuus (stations manned by local nomadic families) or just roughing it on the moonlit bathed Mongolian Steppe. They will be on call 24/7 for any medical mishaps that occur, as each rider is equipped a satellite tracking device that has an emergency button if a rider is in need of aid.

Every year we have received some incredible stories back from the medics out in Mongolia, and this year it is unlikely to be any different. We can’t wait to receive the first blog, and as always they will be posted onto the Prometheus website!

To get to know a bit more about our brave medics, they have kindly provided us with brief biographies:

Kate Owen

“I work full time as a Paramedic for west midlands ambulance service tending to the ill and injured in rural Herefordshire. I have had five years’ experience working as a HEMS Paramedic for Midlands Air Ambulance. In my 14 years working for the ambulance service I have been exposed to many critical incidents that have both given me experience and knowledge of dealing with all emergency situations. I hold a post graduate certification in pre-hospital critical care, gained from Warwick Medical School.

I also work as an instructor for Prometheus Medical Ltd teaching pre hospital trauma and medical emergency care, including emergency response and Surviving Adventure. I have undertaken Prometheus’ ExpeMed course in preparation for the Mongol Derby. This will be my first expedition, so go easy with me!”

Deb Swann

“I am a qualified Emergency Nurse Practitioner, with a degree in emergency nursing, working within Addenbrooke's Hospital Trauma Centre. My emergency nursing career started over 14 years ago after completing training in Cambridge. Having worked in various departments including UCLH and Charing Cross, London and Prince of Wales and RPA, Sydney; and gaining skill in management coupled with extensive trauma experience and primary health care knowledge I am now concentrating on broadening my autonomous practice within the Trauma Centre. 

I have travelled independently throughout the world and have had the pleasure of some more unusual experiences; including swimming with Great White sharks off the coast of Australia, riding with cowboys mustering cattle in the Brazilian Pantanal and fishing for piranha waist deep in a piranha infested river and wondering why I was being nibbled.

Having completed the ExpeMed Course at Prometheus Medical, which has improved my theoretical and practical knowledge of remote medicine, I am looking to broaden my Expedition Medicine skills and simultaneously continue my enjoyment of travel.”

Dr Andy Challen

“I am a senior emergency medicine registrar working in Townsville Hospital, Australia. I am a currently serving Army reservist and previous full time medical officer and have done operations in Iraq where I did a combination of working in trauma bays and doing vehicle patrols in East Timor, where I performed an aeromedical retrieval role, and Afghanistan, where I ran a trauma bay and did foot patrols. I have a strong interest in expedition medicine having done a desert medicine course in Namibia and a jungle medicine course in Costa Rica and am a training member of the academy of wilderness medicine.”

Prometheus wishes the medics and riders good luck for the race!