CME INDIA Presentation by ⚜ Dr. M. Gowri Sankar, MD, Senior Assistant Professor, Dept. of General Medicine, Government Medical College and ESI Hospital, Coimbatore.
💠 April 15 – Titanic Remembrance Day
💠 A Tribute to the Bravest Sea Surgeons
🔸 The Royal Mail Ship (RMS) Titanic was the world’s largest passenger steamship and the most luxurious ship in the early 20th century.
🔸 It set a maiden voyage from the port city of Southampton, England on April 10, 1912, across the Atlantic Ocean to reach New York City, United States.
🔸 It began the majestic journey by carrying 2,240 passengers and crews on board including the chief architect of the ship, some of the wealthiest people in the world, as well as hundreds of emigrants from England and Europe seeking a new life in the US and Canada.
🔸 The RMS Titanic was headed by the most experienced British Marine Officer – Captain Edward John Smith.
🔸 A 62-year-old Senior Surgeon Dr. William Francis Norman O’Loughlin, headed the medical team of the ship. He was a medical graduate from Trinity College and the Catholic University of Ireland, who received his Licentiate from both Royal College of Surgeons and Physicians in Dublin, Ireland in early 1870.
🔸 Soon after his studies, he pursued his career on the sea and earned 40 years of experience as a ship surgeon on board.
🔸 In the RMS Titanic, he was assisted by 37-year-old Dr. Edward Simpson as an Assistant Surgeon.
🔸 Before sailing, Dr. O’Loughlin and his team examined every crew member about to board and checked the scalp for lice, and infectious diseases such as trachoma and tuberculosis to ensure the health of the crew.
🔸 The team also screened the passengers of all the first, second, and third classes. The ship had a state-of-the-art small hospital set up with all medicines and had a separate cabin to treat passengers at all levels.
🔸 Though it was strongly believed that the ship was unsinkable, it, unfortunately, collided with an iceberg at 11.40 pm on April 14 and started sinking and sadly had only 20 lifeboats.
🔸 Most men of all classes came forward and sacrificed their lives for women and children to board the lifeboats first.
🔸 At 2:20 am on April 15, 1912, the RMS Titanic sank into the North Atlantic Ocean with a death toll of 1495 – one of the greatest disasters in maritime.
🔸 The British ship RMS Carpathia on a transatlantic sail received an emergency wireless call from Titanic. Immediately, the Captain of the ship Arthur Rostron redirected the ship, which was 60 miles away from the disaster site. They risked their life by navigating the ice fields and reaching the survivors.
🔸 In the meantime, Captain Rostron prepared to receive the survivors by arranging first aid with the medical team, blankets, hot water, and coffee.
🔸 In fact, a Hungarian physician, Dr. Arpad Lengyel, who was the medical officer of RMS Carpathia was instrumental in organizing medical relief for the survivors of the disaster.
🔸 His medical team had rescued 710 survivors and first-aided 50 fractured survivors and saved every survivor, endangered by hypothermia.
🔸 Finally, on April 18, the survivors arrived at their destination in New York City.
🔸 Though there was a great loss in everyone’s life, the survivors praised the medical service rendered to them. One of them stated that, while the Titanic was sinking Dr. O’Loughlin was going to each frightened passenger to soothe them and directing them towards the lifeboats.
🔸 The survivors also stated that the officers of the Titanic ship never attempted to escape, and they spent all their energies on helping others. In the last scenes on the deck of the Titanic – It’s Hurting, a group of officers, including Dr. O’ Loughlin and his assistants joined in arms and finally drowned in the Atlantic Ocean.
🔸 Dr. O’Loughlin had a distinguished career as a ship’s surgeon and he was well known for his kindness and charitable act in caring for poor people. His final wish was to get buried at sea after his life.
🔸 To honor Dr. O’Loughlin’s service, his friends and New York Times funded and established an Emergency Ward at St. Vincent’s Hospital in New York City in 1914.
🔸 The Hungarian Physician Dr. Arpad Lengyel was honored with a medallion in gratitude by the survivors. Later, the Hungarian Ambulance and Emergency Services Association established the Arpad Lengyel Prize and in 2012 on the 100th Anniversary of Titanic, Hungary Post released a commemorative stamp of RMS Titanic with the portrait of Dr. Arpad Lengyel in the top right corner.