A Coldest Journey Update: What the Team is Up To Now.

Jane Grimsley, Marketing Manager for Digital Capture Europe, Carestream

Jane Grimsley, Marketing Manager, Northern Cluster, Europe, Carestream

Back in March of this year, a team of of adventurers led by world-renowned explorer Sir Ranulph Fiennes set out to cross the Antarctic continent in winter – a feat never before accomplished. The challenge? To travel for six months, across 2,480 miles, where temperatures can fall to –129F. This endeavor also supported Seeing is Believing – a fundraiser focused on raising $10 million to help eradicate blindness in developing countries.

Carestream was among the expedition’s sponsors, supplying the team with our DRX Transportable / Field Portable X-ray System – a rugged digital device that would be invaluable should  a team member sustain an injury requiring diagnostic imaging.

The expedition team was confronted with complications and misfortune from early on. First, team leader Fiennes had to pull out after getting a serious case of frostbite in his left hand. Then, the team discovered that the icy terrain was even more treacherous than predicted: they encountered crevasse fields extending for up to 62 miles – far too dangerous to cross with heavy equipment. Finally, in June, the team regretfully called an official halt to the mission to cross Antarctica. However, due to winter weather condition

The Coldest Journey team has returned home after a long adventure.

The Coldest Journey team has returned home after a long adventure. The photo is courtesy of http://thecoldestjourney.org

s, they had to remain in place for an astounding five months until conditions were safe enough to airlift them out.  During this time, they performed valuable research and collected data to advance the understanding of the effects of climate change on polar regions.

Several weeks ago on December 2nd, the team, back home, attended the annual Transglob

e Expedition Trust evening at the Royal Geographical Society in London. The audience was enthralled and suitably amazed at the team members’ firsthand accounts of their 11 months on the ice – stories dramatically illustrated with photos and film.

We at Carestream are proud to have been a sponsor of this courageous expedition. And we’re happy to pass along team member Rob Lambert’s final appeal for contributions to support Seeing is Believing.

“As we prepare to leave the continent after a tumultuous year, it falls to me to write the final plea. Although we have failed in our objective to cross Antarctica, it will have escaped nobody’s notice that our other, more important objective was to draw attention to the work of Seeing is Believing. This brilliant charity transforms lives, by helping to treat or prevent avoidable blindness all over the world. To my mind it is one of the very best (and cheapest) ways in which you can help your fellow inhabitants of this beautiful planet.. Remember that every pound, dollar, rand, or euro we raise is doubled by Standard Chartered Bank, so if you’ve enjoyed following the expedition, and have thought about donating, the time is now! Carpe diem, as they say…

Carestream goes to extremes…

Helen Titus

Helen Titus, Marketing Director, X-ray Solutions, Carestream

Over the Polar Ice.

Right now, Carestream is on a six-month trek across the frigid Antarctic continent. Well, none of our people are actually on the trip – but one of our flagship products is.

On March 21st, a small team of explorers set off on “The Coldest Journey.” They will attempt to conquer the last major challenge of polar exploration: to cross the Antarctic continent in winter. They’ll travel for six months, across 2,480 miles, at temperatures that can fall to –129F. During this perilous expedition, the team needs the ability to provide advanced medical care if needed – including diagnostic X-ray capabilities. The expedition’s doctor, Rob Lambert, knew that any X-ray system going on this journey would need to be exceptionally rugged, small, light and easy to operate. He chose the CARESTREAM DRX Transportable / Field Portable X-ray System.

The DRX-Transportable is a durable, all-in-one digital solution. It includes the DRX wireless detector, all electronics, a wireless access point and a tablet PC – all securely packed in a tough, protective case. Designed for easy portability, this is a system the expedition can depend on. Check out The Coldest Journey’s website.

Under the Desert Sun

The DRX-Transportable is even built to be rugged enough for military applications. This video* (also shown below) demonstrates how quickly the portable system can be deployed to evaluate serious battle injuries sustained by soldiers in desert combat – and in virtually any other environment as well.

The DRX-Transportable’s mobility and and wireless performance also make it ideal for disaster relief, EMT use, and travel to nursing homes and in-home care.

*Video is a bronze winner of the 34th Annual Telly Awards

It’s Not the Coldest Journey, but It’s Still an Adventure

Jane Grimsley, Marketing Manager for Digital Capture Europe, Carestream

Jane Grimsley, Marketing Manager for Digital Capture Europe, Carestream

The Coldest Journey has captured much of our attention over the past few months at Carestream. Back in January, we announced that Sir Ranulph Fiennes and his team would be taking along the DRX-Transportable system on the trek across Antarctica in the dead of winter. Four months later and we’re happy to report that the journey continues, however Sir Ranulph had to head home because of a case of frostbite. The team has forged ahead in his absence across the dangerous ice environment, in the name of both adventure and charity.

The Coldest Journey set out to raise $10 million for Seeing is Believing, an organization dedicated to eliminating avoidable blindness and visual impairment. In the same spirit as the Coldest Journey, five Carestream Health UK Limited employees attempt a strenuous, though not quite as dangerous journey of their own. The “Wee Bit Chilly Journey” will take our colleagues on a cycling adventure across the UK from coast to coast. The team will travel from Hull to Liverpool (178 miles) from Friday 7th to Sunday 9th June finishing at the Arena and Convention Centre, Albert dock, Liverpool just in time for the UK Radiology Conference, which takes place from Monday 10th to Wednesday 12th June.

If you would like to make a donation to support the five cyclists who will attempt this feat, donations to Seeing is Believing can be made through http://www.justgiving.com/Wee-Bit-Chilly-Journey

Wee Bit Cold

Pictured from left to right: Back Row – Charlie McCaffrey, Kevin Smith, Mark Stewart;
Front Row Nick Brown, Martin Stewart

The Coldest Journey: Q&A with Dr. Rob Lambert, Expedition Team Doctor

Jane Grimsley, Marketing Manager for Digital Capture Europe, Carestream

Jane Grimsley, Marketing Manager for Digital Capture Europe, Carestream

We managed to catch up with Dr. Rob Lambert, expedition team doctor, before he left the UK to fly to Cape Town and join the rest of the Coldest Journey team. We were able to get a little more background on the journey he faces and why the DRX Transportable is going with them.

Rob, tell us a bit about yourself and how you came to be involved in The Coldest Journey.

I trained as a doctor in the UK, focusing on A&E (accident and emergency) and then spent the last year in Antarctica with the British Antarctica Survey. When I heard about the plans last year for The Coldest Journey expedition I applied to join, and here we are now. I’ll be involved in the project until February 2014, or thereabouts, and then I’ll be heading back to the NHS to look for a job!

I’m the only trained medic on the team, but everyone is first aid trained and comes with masses of experience in this field. I’ll also have various medical consultants on call should the need arise. In conditions such as those we’re facing, it’s the minor things that can turn into major traumas. Blisters for example, in normal circumstances, wouldn’t be too much to worry about but can be debilitating on a journey such as this.

You were responsible for selecting the DRX Transportable.  We spoke recently to Wendy Tiller in the UK and understand that Sir Ranulph Fiennes himself made the call to find out more (she thought it was a prank call!) Tell us how you found the system and how you plan on using it.

We’re a six-person team traveling completely self-sufficiently, so we need to have all of the medical equipment we are possibly going to require along with us. We needed a digital X-ray system to take with us on the expedition and I looked closely at all of the systems available before settling on Carestream. Ran (Sir Ranulph) gets involved with all of the sponsors so once I had flagged up to him that the DRX Transportable could do everything we needed, he put in the call. Since then I’ve worked very closely with the UK sales team, who have put together a package that fulfills all of our needs.

Dr. Rob Lambert, team expedition doctor for The Coldest Journey.

Dr. Rob Lambert, team expedition doctor for The Coldest Journey.

The best-case scenario is that we never have to use the DRX. It’s a back-up piece of equipment for a worst-case scenario, and if it sits in its case for a year, I’ll be happy.

Huskies have been banned from Antarctica since the Madrid Protocol of 1991 – to prevent the introduction of disease to indigenous species – so the team has to rely on mechanical pulling power in the shape of bulldozers that will pull the cabooses, and the porta-cabin style living quarters that house all of the food, fuel, equipment and living quarters for the team.

The equipment will be tested before we reach Antarctica, will be placed in one of these cabooses, and will be kept in decent conditions. From a medical perspective the conditions are tricky, space is cramped and working in the medical equivalent of a shoe-box is going to be challenging to say the least.

Sir Ranulph Fiennes, accompanied by another member, will lead the team at all times, skiing out front using ground-penetrating radar to avoid crevasses. The team of six will always be within a relatively short distance of the land-train. This means that any medical procedures can be carried out immediately, more or less.

What are your expectations of the challenges ahead?

It’s so difficult to project ahead. Especially if we’re successful, we’ll be the very first team to have achieved this crossing, so there’s no benchmark.

Dealing with the weather and the extreme cold are the obvious challenges and I’m sure that will present lots of issues. There’s always the potential for something really serious to happen, which is why we’re fully equipped medically, including the DRX Transportable, and we have a really experienced team.

But the biggest unknown lies in the emotional challenge, the team dynamic and how six people living in confined quarters will get on. That, ultimately, is what will determine the success or failure of this trip.

Right now it will be a relief to get on with business, all of the planning, and the months and months of work have all been working to get us to this point. Now it’s time to start the engines and start putting one foot in front of the other.

The Twitter accounts for The Coldest Journey and Carestream will be posting updates throughout the team’s journey. You can follow the organizations at @coldestjourney and @Carestream. You can also follow The Coldest Journey’s updates on Facebook. We wish Sir Ranulph, Dr. Lambert, and the team a safe and successful journey across Antarctica.

DRX-Transportable System About to Make Its “Coldest Journey”

Jane Grimsley, Marketing Manager for Digital Capture Europe, Carestream

Jane Grimsley, Marketing Manager for Digital Capture Europe, Carestream

Veteran polar explorer, Sir Ranulph Fiennes, is about to embark on what is considered to be “The Coldest Journey”—a 4,000-kilometer expedition across Antarctica in the dead of winter. Having never been accomplished before, the frigid environment will see Sir Ranulph and his crew face complete darkness for most of the adventure in temperatures as low as -90°C.

Conditions such as these require the utmost care and medical attention. Sir Ranulph and his team will not be without expert medical staff and equipment. The expedition’s doctor, Rob Lambert, said that an X-ray system that is small, light and easy to operate would be a necessity for the adventure. The DRX-Transportable fills those needs and will be accompanying the team throughout their journey.

The DRX-Transportable is a rugged, all-in-one solution specifically designed for use in the field. Additionally, a Carestream distributor in the UK, BCF Technology, has donated the source generator for X-ray capture.

While “The Coldest Journey” is seeking to accomplish something that has never been done before, the organization is also doing this for a greater cause. In addition to crossing Antarctica, the team also has a goal of raising USD10 million for “Seeing is Believing,” a global charitable initiative to fight avoidable blindness.

The expedition officially set off on December 6th, when the expedition ship SA Agulhas set sail from London with over 100 tonnes of equipment needed for the crossing. The six Ice Team members will join the ice-strengthened vessel in Cape Town before heading down to Antarctica.

On March 21, 2013, the team will begin their six-month journey to reach the Ross Sea, which is a deep bay in the Southern Ocean of Antarctica. The expedition’s route will take them from the Russian base of Novolazareskaya (Novo) to Captain Scott’s base at McMurdo Sound, via the South Pole. Including the return trip, training, and preparations, Sir Ranulph and his team will be on the expedition for 15 months.

Map courtesy of http://thecoldestjourney.org and map created by LIMA Project

Map courtesy of http://thecoldestjourney.org and map created by LIMA Project

This mission will test the limits of human endurance. During this time the team will be entirely self-sufficient as there is no search and rescue facility available, as aircraft cannot penetrate inland during winter due to darkness and risk of fuel freezing.

We are proud that Sir Ranulph reached out to Carestream to use our DRX-Transportable for his expedition. We hope that they never have to use it throughout their travels, but we have the utmost confidence that it will provide the appropriate diagnosis in a time of need.

Be on the lookout for future updates from us.  The Twitter accounts for The Coldest Journey and Carestream will be posting updates throughout the team’s journey. You can follow the organizations at @coldestjourney and @Carestream. We wish Sir Ranulph, Dr. Lambert, and the team a safe and successful journey across Antarctica.