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South Pole Evacuee Seeks Medical Help At Hopkins

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Renee Douceur

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BALTIMORE (WJZ)—Back on American soil. A researcher working in the South Pole is in Baltimore getting the emergency help she needs.

Andrea Fujii tells us about her long journey here.

From the South Pole to Dulles International airport now to Johns Hopkins Hospital. While working at the National Science Foundation for the last year, doctors believe Renee-Nicole Douceur, 58, suffered a stroke in August.

She thought she could leave to receive better medical treatment until “a memo came out and they said we’re not going to get you out. We’re going to let you wait until the first scheduled flights come through,” said Renee-Nicole Douceur, South Pole engineer.

She waited for two months as her vision, language and memory deteriorated.

The organization that runs the station told her the weather made it too dangerous for an air rescue.

“The disillusionment — see how I had difficulty saying that — just started to set in and I said, ‘Wait a minute there, they’re not really out for my best interest,’” Douceur said.

Once the weather cleared, Douceur flew from Antarctica to New Zealand onto San Francisco. She arrived in Dulles on Monday night then ambulanced to Johns Hopkins.

Though feeling much better, Douceur says she’s looking forward to long-awaited medical help.

“Everybody takes a look at me and says, ‘Eh you look pretty well.’ But I need to know what’s going on in my brain,” she said.

Douceur will receive treatment at Hopkins for about eight weeks.

Doctors believe she will make a full recovery.

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