Thursday, 23 February 2012

The doctor will sea you now: Hospital boat could rescue victims of natural disasters

We've all heard of the flying doctors - now we could soon have the floating doctors thanks to a hospital boat developed by an Italian yacht designer.

Marino Alfani, 29, came up with the concept after talking to his childhood friend Dr Taddeo Baino, who had just returned from a medical mission in Africa.

The hospital boat would be able to come close in to shore and ferry passengers to it by ambulance and helicopter

Mr Alfani realised that a hospital boat could treat people from coastal areas that have no or ill-equipped hospitals and could also respond to emergencies at sea like the recent Costa Concordia wreck. It could also provide relief to victims of natural disasters like the 2004 tsunami, which wiped out whole road networks.

So he designed a catamaran that would be equipped with state-of-the-art medical examination areas, operating theatres, laboratories, recovery rooms and a hyperbaric chamber (for oxygen therapy). There would be a small helipad on the bridge and a garage accessible from the stern to store an ambulance.

The boat would accommodate three crew members and nine doctors and nurses and could treat 50 people a day - which would be 1,500 a month. As a catamaran it could come close in to shore.

Speaking to L'Eco Di Bergamo, Mr Alfani said: 'The earth is surrounded by water and it is unthinkable that there is no tool that allows immediate first aid at sea.'

He added that the boat was modeled on the emergency room of the Bergamo Hospital in Italy.
The boat, made from aluminium alloy would measure 115ft long, 48ft wide and stand 25ft tall. It would be propelled by two 1200 diesel electric motors and travel at a top speed of 10knots. The boat would have a fuel capacity of 50,000l.

Mr Alfani has an architecture degree from the Politecnico di Milano as well as a Masters in Yacht Design and now has his own studio where he can tackle boat design to construction. He is also an experienced interior designer.

The hospital boat concept won a prize this month at the 2012 Millennium Yacht Design Awards.

22 February 2012

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Scores killed in Argentina train crash

A packed train slammed into a barrier at a Buenos Aires station today, killing 49 people and injuring hundreds of morning commuters.

Federal Police Commissioner Nestor Rodriguez said the dead include 48 adults and one child.

It is Argentina's highest death toll from a train accident since 1970, when 200 were killed in a train collision.

Earlier, Alberto Crescenti, the city's emergency medical director, said at least 550 people were injured and that 30 people remained trapped inside the first car, where rescuers carved open the roof and set up a pulley system to pull them out.

The commuter train came in too fast and hit the barrier at the end of the platform at about 12mph, smashing the front of the engine and crunching the leading cars behind it, Argentina's transportation secretary told reporters at the station.

Most damaged was the first car, where passengers make space for bicycles. Survivors told a TV channel that many people were injured in a jumble of metal and glass.

Passengers said windows exploded as the tops of train cars separated from their floors.

The trains are usually packed with people standing between the seats, and many were thrown into each other and to the floor by the force of the hard stop.

Many people suffered bruises, and many with lesser injuries were waiting for attention on the Once station's platforms as helicopters and more than a dozen ambulances took the most seriously injured to nearby hospitals.

"This machine left the shop yesterday and the brakes worked well. From what we know, it braked without problems at previous stations. At this point I don't want to speculate about the causes," said Ruben Sobrero, a union chief.

AP 22 Febr 2012

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Five-year-old girl among eight bodies found on Costa Concordia

A five-year-old girl was among eight bodies found inside the crippled Costa Concordia cruise ship.

Dayana Arlotti, from Rimini, whose father William Arlotti is also missing, is the youngest person who died in the disaster.

The grim discoveries came as prosecutors announced that they had widened their investigation to include four more of the ship’s officers and three employees of Costa Cruises, the Genoa-based company that owns the liner.

The bodies were found by Italian fire service divers on the fourth deck of the giant ship, which was at the start of a week-long cruise of the Mediterranean when it ran aground on Giglio island, off the coast of Tuscany, on Jan 13.

The first four bodies were found in the morning, with another four located in the flooded hull later in the day.

Aside from the little girl, rescue officials said the dead included a man and a woman. It was not known whether they were passengers or crew members.

The discovery of the bodies brought the confirmed death toll to 25, with at least seven people still missing.

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