Villa Las Estrellas, the town in Antarctica where you cannot live without removing your appendix

Imagine that, in order to live in your city, you had to undergo surgery to remove your appendix even though it did not cause you any inconvenience. That is the only option for residents from Villa Las Estrellas, a Chilean town located in the middle of Antarctica.

Removal of the appendix is ​​a necessary requirement for the few long-term residents of Villa Las Estrellas, because the nearest main hospital is located more than 1,000 kilometers away, beyond King George Island and across the icy Southern Ocean.

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At the base itself there are only a few doctors, and none of them specialize in surgery. The medical facilities at Villa Las Estrellas are quite basic, and any complications require evacuation to a hospital that can treat more complex conditions such as acute appendicitis.

Anyone who moves to the camp must spend a few comprehensive medical exams, which include the removal of the appendix in those over 6 years of age and various psychological tests.

Post Office of Chile in Villa Las Estrellas. (Photo: Jorge Benavente)

The objective is to minimize the chances of having to evacuate someone, because, although Villa Las Estrellas has a landing strip, in many cases the extreme weather conditions They can make it impossible to take off immediately to transfer someone who requires it.

Life at Villa Las Estrellas

Although the small Chilean town of about 100 people is mostly populated by rotating scientists and Chilean Air Force or Navy personnel, those who stay longer periods of time with the military often bring their families. .

Therefore there is a post office, a small school, a bank and other basic facilities.

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