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The Psychology Of Survival

By ClinkShrink

I read this BBC story recently about the Chilean miners trapped for 17 days, who now face months of waiting underground while a rescue tunnel is dug. Although they are all physically well and expected to survive, they face the psychological challenge of waiting for rescue from the cave.

This story resonated with me because lately I’ve been hearing a lot about a new book, No Way Down, which was featured on NPR along with some other mountain disaster books. No Way Down covered the story of several teams of mountain climbers who were stranded on K2 when an icefall cut their ropes. Most of the climbers died although a few managed to pick their way back to base camp.

Survival stories have always been popular. Entire television series now feature teams of people pitted against one another to overcome some test or challenge. Disaster movies were popular back in the ’70s, when the Towering Inferno, Airport and the Poseidon Adventure let us watch people get picked off one by one.

Why do we love this stuff? Read more »

*This blog post was originally published at Shrink Rap*

Claustrophobia And Doctors Trapped In An Elevator

A comment on my previous post by undead doctor, reminded me of another story about a lift in the old academic building in the old hospital.

Every morning all the registrars, medical officers and interns in the surgery department would meet in the boss’ office for a report on the previous night’s activities and to deal with whatever other administration had to be taken care of. After this meeting the day’s work would begin. The surgery department was on the seventh floor of the academic building. The lifts in that building were fairly small, so we did what any normal surgeon-type would have done in our situation…we tried to see exactly how many people we could cram into the lifts on the way back down after the meeting. As it turns out the lifts couldn’t take more than thirteen. I know this from the time we crammed fourteen into one lift and it got stuck between floor three and floor four. Read more »

*This blog post was originally published at other things amanzi*

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