Antarctic stroke victim in New Zealand

Oct. 17, 2011 at 2:11 PM

CHRISTCHURCH, New Zealand, Oct. 17 (UPI) -- A researcher who may have suffered a stroke at the South Pole landed in New Zealand Monday, seven weeks after her incident.

Rescuers could not immediately evacuate Renee-Nicole Douceur, 58, after her apparent stroke because of highly dangerous weather conditions this time of year in Antarctica, ABC News reported.

"The Denver people had told me, 'We'll get you out as soon as possible, within a couple weeks.' Then, all of a sudden ... it's like, 'Oh no. She's just going to go out on a regular scheduled flight,'" Douceur said.

Raytheon, the company that operates the site for the National Science Foundation where Douceur worked, told the woman no special flight would be scheduled for her evacuation.

"As far as going for medical services, it's just more of a mere convenience than a medical necessity ... and I'm saying a person who had a stroke and needs an MRI and every other testing ... is that just a convenience? I don't think so," Douceur said.

Douceur, who has impaired speech and vision, will receive a CAT Scan and MRI Tuesday at a hospital in New Zealand before being transported to John Hopkins Medical Center in Baltimore, Md.

Dr. Paul Nyquist of Johns Hopkins University said it was difficult to diagnose Douceur from a distance.

"If she had a disease that was potentially treatable at this point -- and was stuck in Antarctica undiagnosed and waiting -- that would be a bad thing for her," Nyquist said.

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