Doctor from NC helps save the life of an astronaut aboard International Space Station


photo courtesy of CNN

A North Carolina doctor saves the life of astronaut aboard the International Space Station.

Dani Foust, Photo editor

NASA has been sending man into space for over 30 years since its establishment in 1958.  With 135 successful flights with 833 crewmembers in total, it would be assumed that NASA would have a protocol for all sorts of situations.  Though, this assumption could not be further from the truth considering a recent medical emergency that occurred at the International Space Station. 

 For the first time ever in  NASA’s history, one of its astronauts suffered from a blood clot, which was an event that NASA or the astronauts aboard the International Space Station were prepared for. There was no protocol for how to handle the situation.  Therefore, NASA enlisted the help of a well- known doctor, Dr. Stephen Moll, from the University of North Carolina Chapel Hill. Moll has a special expertise where blood clots are concerned; his work has even been published in multiple medical journals.  

Considering there has never been an instance such as this before, Moll could not help but wonder if he would have to be sent to space in order to treat his new patient, who had a blood clot in his jugular vein.  Everything was unknown; no one has ever been treated for this medical emergency issue before in space. A normal treatment such as blood thinners may not work the way they would in an environment with gravity.  

According to an article on WSOCTV Moll stated, “So all the decisions that had to be made were best guesses.”

He consulted a group of NASA doctors from the ground, reported WSOCTV.  The patient was given blood thinners and is now recovering on the ground.  

This occurrence just goes to show just how many firsts we still have left to experience in space, even concerning medical emergencies.  Moll helped man take one small step towards being more prepared for further space exploration.