End of the Rio road for retired Lancaster doctor

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Former Royal Lancaster Infirmary consultant anaesthetist Dr John Davies is volunteering in the medical team at the Rio Olympics. Here’s the final part of his diary...

“That was two weeks that was, its over, let it go!

But what a wonderful two weeks! We finished the last events at the Olympic Stadium the day before the actual last day and there was a slight element of going mad.

Hundreds of volunteers flooded onto the track and the Holy Turf, shirts of different colours were swapped, selfies and mass group photographs in all directions.

I even saw “seen it all, this is my 14th Olympics” photographers doing the same. No one was immune from the wonderful Brazilian enthusiasm for having good time.

But our last day wasn’t free of drama. I’ve mentioned the stress that athletes undergo, mental as well as physical, and their coaches and trainers feel the first as much.

We had a coach brought into the Base with chest pain, who proceeded to deteriorate. Extra staff were brought into the Base from the Fops who had no event in their sector and he was stabilised and taken to a cardiology unit. I can’t say how he’s doing as I don’t know.

And our Fop was mobilised, when a javelin athlete collapsed after a throw. He had a pulled, not an ischaemic muscle, and once against we were glad to see him go out onto the park, as he had won a medal by his last throw!

Since then, I am relaxing in Rio with more time to myself waiting for the Paralympics.

I took the opportunity to visit The Casa Brazil, where the hosts set out their eco comic and other achievements. All countries operate these, but those are more to promote businesses. The Casa Brazil was about... Brazil!

I was impressed by one section. “Maes Medicos” (More Doctors) is a programme to bring medical care to the rural population in South America’s largest (by far) country.

While they increased the number of student training places, they recruits doctors from all over the world, and in three years have been able to post a doctor, and staff in all the thousands of municipalities that previously had none.

That this was necessary was an indication of the imbalance in healthcare for the poor beforehand, but that it has been achieved is enormous.

The problem will be to maintain the effort in Brazil’s difficult economy, and the NHS must feel sympathetic to Made Medicos!

The marathon, the climax for the Brazilians of Gold in both football and volleyball, the national sports, and the closing ceremony were all the next day.

And now we realised that this is Rio’s winter, as high winds and sleeting rain come from the South Atlantic ocean.

Despite this, the closing ceremony was an enormous success, I thought, using the skills of the Samba Schools for extravagant, gorgeous costumes, and vibrant music, and projected light displays that lived up to them in every way.”