Ditch Your 'Plus One': Residents of Town Forced to Have Appendix Removed Before Moving In
This practice is not uncommon for remote places that might not have specialists available to conduct an appendectomy on site. Normally, appendixes are not removed pre-emptively because of their importance for the immune and digestive systems.
Relocating to another city always requires parting with something - contacts, chance meetings with old friends - but this town in Chile takes the costs to a new level as people wanting to move there have to have their appendix removed first.
Welcome to Villa Las Estrellas - a Chilean town on King George Island on the edge of Antarctica that has a population of no more than 100 people with most of them researchers and servicemen. Finding a doctor here is a challenge. Even though there is an airfield nearby, you might not get the necessary medical attention in time, should you suffer from appendicitis.
Hence the precaution of removing the appendix beforehand. This practice was once popular in the US at the end of the 19th century, but was quickly dismissed after the scientific community learnt of the worm-shaped organ's importance to the immune and digestive systems.
12 March 2021, 12:25 GMT
Still, its removal is a necessary sacrifice for those moving to Antarctica - and not just for those headed for Chilean territory. It is general advice for many travellers to the distant continent. As history tells us - even having a doctor at the settlement might not save you from an emergency.
Back in 1961, Soviet general practitioner Leonid Rogozov found himself in a pickle as he started experiencing symptoms of appendicitis during his deployment at a station in Antarctica. The stormy weather ruled out evacuation and he was the only doctor on the expedition. Rogozov thus came up with the only solution – he decided to operate on himself with help from the two members of the expedition. The surgery was tough and he nearly lost consciousness at times, but, in the end, Rogozov succeeded, thus becoming the first (and, to our knowledge, the only) person to pull off such a feat.