What Would Happen To An Astronaut Aboard The Space Station If He/she Suffered A Serious Medical Emergency Such As A Ruptured Appendix Or Stroke?
They would almost certainly suffer significantly higher morbidity (complications) than if they were on earth. In a true medical emergency, chances of death would be high. The ISS is not adequately equipped to handle a medical emergency, nor are the crew fully trained in medical resuscitation. While there is an assortment of medications on board (mostly in tablet/capsule form), as well as an ultrasound that can be used with remote guidance, it's not an ER. Someone who is critically ill needs at least one physician, at least one nurse, at least one pharmacist, likely multiple concurrent medications, immediate diagnostics, continuous vital sign monitoring, and possible procedural intervention (such as intubation or central venous catheter placement). At this time, an emergency return to earth from the ISS provides little to none of those, and instead requires the injured/ill crewmember to: fold into the confined 3 cubic meter space of the Soyuz along with 2 other crew members who will be focused on orbital re-entry, not medical care endure a 4-9 G re-entry, violent landing, and post-landing dynamics, all without medical monitoring or resuscitation wait in the vehicle until rescue/para Continue reading >>