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N.H. South Pole Evacuee Back In U.S.

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Renee Douceur

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BALTIMORE (WJZ) — From Antarctica to Baltimore. A woman desperate for medical help traveled around the world to get the care she needs here at Johns Hopkins Hospital.

Kai Jackson has the woman’s long journey here.

Renee-Nicole Douceur is back on American soil and now she’s receiving treatment for a stroke. Her flight landed at Dulles International Airport outside Washington, D.C. Monday night. From there, she was taken by ambulance to Johns Hopkins Hospital.

“I am so glad to be home. I’m glad to be here. It’s great to be back in America,” Douceur said.

Douceur, who’s 58, was a researcher and manager at the National Science Foundation’s research station at the South Pole. Her ordeal began in August when she began having vision, language and memory problems. Doctors believe she had a stroke but when she asked to be evacuated, Raytheon—which runs the station—told her no, saying the weather made it too dangerous for air rescue crews.

“I had lost half my vision and that was with both eyes. It’s come back now but I have difficulty reading,” Douceur said.

She expects to be at Hopkins until Thursday.

Her journey to Maryland was an adventure. She flew from Antarctica to Christchurch, New Zealand. She then flew to San Francisco and finally to Dulles.

Doctors say behind Douceur’s treatment is the question of how other cases of sick workers in Antarctica will be handled.

“Is this going to be a new operating procedure that when people get sick or so forth, they’re brought home?” said journalist Eric Niiler.

Doctors believe she will make a full recovery.

Douceur is originally from New Hampshire.

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