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Sedatives used before extracting youths from Tham Luang cave

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Sedatives used before extracting youths

By THE NATION

 

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A member of the “Wild Boars” Thai youth football team is carried on a stretcher during a rescue operation inside the Tham Luang cave in Khun Nam Nang Non forest park in Mae Sai district, Chiang Rai province.

 

Rescue teams were faced with tough choices and time running out.

 

DRUGS WERE employed to prevent panic among the 13 Mu Pa (Wild Boars) footballers as they were evacuated from Tham Luang cave by rescue teams made up of Thai and foreign divers.

 

The Navy first hinted at the use of a calming agent, but did not get into specifics.

 

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 “The Wild Boars put on diving suits and full-face masks,” said Thai Navy SEAL chief Apakorn Youkongkaew during a televised press conference earlier this week. “They were connected with air tanks and escorted by (experienced) divers. We opted for an evacuation process that prevented Wild Boars from panicking as they moved through the cave.”

 

Some foreign media outlets have reported that ketamine or another sedative was given to the youth before embarking on the perilous journey out of the cave where they had been stranded for more than two weeks.

 

“Some were conscious but some others were asleep. They kept breathing as evacuations went on. They were wrapped with foil blankets to keep them warm,” Apakorn said.

 

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UK paper the Daily Mail quoted one of the British divers as saying, “I was told the boys were given a dose of ketamine (a horse tranquilliser often used as a recreational drug) to keep them calm.” An American military diver reportedly added: “Those kids were proper knocked out.”

 

Fernando Raigal, a Spanish diver who took part in the rescue, told the Daily Mail, ‘The boys were sedated – they were unconscious.”

 

But Prime Prayut Chan-o-cha denied this, saying, “All of the children were conscious during the operation.”

 

In a Skype conversation with Australian Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull, Dr Richard Harris, who made the final decision to take the children out of the cave last week, explained how difficult it was to take the boys out.

 

“You are basically, the entire dive from 2.5 kilometres or so at the back of the cave. There’s zero visibility on the way out from the mud and the clay. So you are following the line with your hand and basically might as well have your eyes closed for the whole trip. With a small boy being cradled in your arms, and feeling your way through rocks … and passing yourself sideways though little holes and things.”

 

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Located in Chiang Rai’s Mae Sai district, the Tham Luang cave system turns extremely dangerous during the wet season. The cave is usually inundated between July and November, making its compound out of bounds during the period. But flash floods came early this year. It was only June 23 when the 12 footballers and their assistant football coach visited the cave and became suddenly stranded inside due to flash floods.

 

Darkness, floodwater, thin air, narrow choke points, jagged rocks and slippery and rough passages inside the cave proved formidable as the rescuers worked against the clock to save the stranded survivors before the rainy season unleashed its full wrath. Even with powerful pumps to drain water out of the cave and successful efforts to divert rainwater from heading into the cave, there were always risks that if major rainfall came, no one would be able to overcome nature’s power.

 

“This mission was extremely difficult. It was absolutely difficult. We faced something we had never faced,” Apakorn said one day after the evacuations concluded.

 

 The stranded football team was found at a spot known as Noen Nom Sao. It is about 25 square metres wide and was dry. But evacuating the Wild Boars through the cave’s only known entrance required both trekking and diving, with some sections of the route completely submerged from floor to ceiling.

 

It sounded impossible to many observers for young footballers, without previous diving skills, to make it out – even with professional escorts.

 

Apakorn described the diving components as requiring two highly-skilled divers accompanying each Wild Boar.

 

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Discussing a posted video clip showing an evacuee on a stretcher, Apakorn said that rescue planners were worried that the trapped survivors would become exhausted if they tried to walk out on their own.

 

At a press conference, Apakorn admitted that he did not yet know how the stranded footballers had managed to remain inside their cave before British divers found them.

 

“We may have to ask for details from them later on. That part is also interesting,” he said.

 

Source: http://www.nationmultimedia.com/detail/national/30349967

 
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-- © Copyright The Nation 2018-07-13

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An anaesthetist was involved here, I suspect they would not have been prescribed 'ketamine' but instead something like Midazolam which would impair their memory (up to full blackout even if they're conscious) and if the dose is high enough make them pretty much sleep through the entire ordeal.

 

It's what they give you prior to an operation or intrusive camera work, it's short acting and pretty much wears off completely within 5 to 10 hours. From memory I think the half life is around 4 hours so a top up dose can be required.

 

I've used this on flights in the past to help me sleep having first obtained a prescription from a well known Bangkok hospital.

 

I very much doubt ketamine would have been used.

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 Whatever they were given, it worked. Job well done.

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Prayuth again showing his true colours here, actual people who were present during the operation said categorically that the kids were sedated, yet Prayuth who was NOT involved directly or indirectly in the operation has said they were conscious.

He might as well wear that Pinocchio mask all day every day. Pathetic.

 

That the professionals in charge chose to use sedatives is a moot point, they had a plan and executed it very well and none of the trapped persons died as a result, I would say kudos to them as their means were certainly justified by the ends.

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Whatever was used to get the boys out safely worked.

Prayut as usual opening his mouth not knowing what he is talking about, just to make sure his name is mentioned, pathetic individual.

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First of all to all armchair thaivisa rescuers: please take a good look. Rescuers said the kids were too weak to even walk through the tunnels and sedation was needed to guard against panic. Sounds reasonable. However one poster Sheryl claimed it was crucial the kids bonded with their rescuers in a touchy feely kind of way during the rescue and this in her mind ruled out certain types of rescue where the kids didn't have this. Wrong. Another poster CGW believed panic was a non-issue for these kids because he believed in  power of the human being. Wrong.

 

This sled rescue system is interesting and has some advantages. But strapped onto these onto sleds I wonder how difficult it was to keep them from banging against outcroppings as they squeezed through tight passages exacerbated by water with as low as 5cm visibility and very strong currents.

 

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3 hours ago, webfact said:

Dr Richard Harris

This is the man who has the answer. Dr Richard Harris, Adelaide, South Australia, Australia. If drugs were administered it would have been by this man. He was also the last one out. A big g'day to you.

dr richard harris.jpg

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3 hours ago, webfact said:

But Prime Prayut Chan-o-cha denied this, saying, “All of the children were conscious during the operation.

Thank you for this opportunity to have a good laugh again! ?

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The entire issue of sedatives being administered to the kids is, IMO, actually a non-issue as the entire operation was a complete success and all the children are being given a clean bill of health.

 

It would become an issue if something negative happened. Which it didn't. People apparently are already missing the point that this was a life-saving rescue, further complicated with dropping oxygen levels  in the chambers. The call was made by experts, it ended up with a successful conclusion, and when fully evaluated will likely be included in a globally accepted cave extraction procedure if the same or similar conditions are met.

 

Again, IMO this is a media driven point to further cash in on headlines of this drama; observers should not be sucked in by it. If it comes down to the choice of sedating/risking panic attacks/leaving them in the chamber, I know which one I would take for the safety of the boys and for the safety of the rescuers.

 

Kudos to whoever made the decision........................:thumbsup:

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7 minutes ago, candide said:

Thank you for this opportunity to have a good laugh again! ?

Can't someone be sedated, maybe heavily sedated & still fully conscious ?

Just wondering.

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i read it was MDMA the kids were given, not ketamine, and that they hugged and danced their way to freedom.

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32 minutes ago, malt25 said:

Can't someone be sedated, maybe heavily sedated & still fully conscious ?

 

Perhaps your question can best be addressed by the good general. He seems well versed on 'appearing' to be fully conscious…despite some indications to the contrary.

 

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2 hours ago, z42 said:

Prayuth again showing his true colours here, actual people who were present during the operation said categorically that the kids were sedated, yet Prayuth who was NOT involved directly or indirectly in the operation has said they were conscious.

He might as well wear that Pinocchio mask all day every day. Pathetic.

 

That the professionals in charge chose to use sedatives is a moot point, they had a plan and executed it very well and none of the trapped persons died as a result, I would say kudos to them as their means were certainly justified by the ends.

There is a difference between sedated and un-conscious, so Prayut might well be right. I don't like the guy but could be language mix-up. You can be sedated and conscious (looks obvious to me as if they were not conscious they would be dead weight and because there were parts two divers could not pass it stands to reason they were at least conscious enough to do things).

 

Just my interpretation I could be totally wrong. 

 

Question is what did he say, that they were conscious.. if so he was right.. if he said not sedated he was the wrong and lying. 

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