When Emilie Fénétrier announced to those around her that she was preparing to leave for a year on a scientific base in Antarctica, reactions flared up, from “It’s awesome” at “You’re a little crazy”, she says. It must be said that, on site, the temperatures felt will drop to -50 degrees. Ewen Jézéquel has another destination: the Kerguelen Islands, lost in the Indian Ocean. “Me, I come from Brittany, I was told that it looked a bit like Brittany… only worsehe smiles. A little more wind, it’s a little colder and it rains a little more.” For his part, Romain Savajols will practice on the island of Amsterdam “which is a very small island of five kilometers by ten, which is totally isolated in the middle of the Indian Ocean. It is one of the most remote islands in the world.”
And yet, nothing to dampen their motivation. Natacha Jacquot will leave for the island of Crozet in the middle of the Indian Ocean “and it’s a childhood dream”says the doctor. “The Kerguelen, these islands, we saw them on Arte when we were little.”
“Becoming a doctor to help scientists on a mission, to represent France… A year ago, I would have been told that I was going with the penguins there, I wouldn’t have believed it. It’s crazy , it’s too good.”Natacha Jacquot, emergency doctor
Their mission: to become for one year the attending physician of the 20 to 100 scientists present on their respective bases. Finally, to be a Swiss army knife doctor. “Doctor, surgeon, pharmacist, radiologist… We must be totally versatile”, assures Romain. Ewen adds: “We know that we won’t be able to do everything, we won’t be able to do everything, we can try to do it but not necessarily successfully. We’ll see!”
“I hope that something crazy will happen because I think that in my professional experience, I will not have 15 times the opportunity to operate on someonerecognizes Natacha. Afterwards, while remaining humble because if I do it, it’s really the last of the last chances. But in any case, I think it will be a crazy experience.”
Before leaving, for several weeks, these four doctors who had hitherto been emergency physicians in Angoulême, Chamonix or Brest were to be trained by army doctors. Departure scheduled for December 2022. Once there, in their free time, they will be able to observe birds and penguins.
But what will they put in their waltz? “Maybe a harmonica”, smiles Natasha. Emilie made herself “A little pleasure before leaving, I treated myself to a nice camera.” For Roman, “binoculars, chocolate… And jams from my mum”, he said with a laugh. Ewen, who plays the tuba, also hopes to be able to take his instrument in his luggage.
These four emergency physicians will spend a year on a scientific base in the French Southern Territories: report by Solenne Le Hen