Rome Radio - Ships Nostalgia
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  #1  
Old 7th October 2019, 10:34
P.Arnold P.Arnold is offline
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Organisation: Merchant Navy
Department: Radio Officer
Active: 1967 - 1977
 
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Rome Radio

Anybody use medical advice from Rome Radio, c/s IRM, I think?

Used it a couple of times myself.
In the first contact, before diagnosis started, you had to provide information on weight, height, sex, and Caucasian or negroid.
It was the first time I had heard the word Caucasian being used.

If I remember, our case was diagnosed as double pneumonia, in the absence of onboard medicines, advised to ‘drop’ patient off soonest.

I did hear of an appendix being removed under instructions from Rome, all done on CW, Can you imagine? Cook and Chippy!! No disrespect to their professions. You could have had the Old man and Chief. Other combinations are available.

Peter
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  #2  
Old 7th October 2019, 12:21
Tony Selman's Avatar
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I used them once from a P&O gas tanker off the coast of Ceylon. An Indian or Pakistani crew member from the engine room had got a metal shard in his eye and our high powered medical team on board were not geared to handle that. Got in touch with IRM, gave them a load of details which I cannot now recall and they said they would call back in one hour, which they did. I cannot for the life of me remember whether I got the information on CW or SSB but they gave us some excellent advice and we did not have to offload the injured party. I recorded everything on tape just in case we forgot anything. Excellent service, very impressed.
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  #3  
Old 8th October 2019, 00:13
Paul Braxton Paul Braxton is offline  
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Didn't use IAR, but had occasion to use the service via Mauritius while serving on BI's "Sirsa", bound for scrap in HongKong and a scrap metal discharge before that in Shanghai. The Old Man developed a mysterious skin disease after leaving ZSC for Indian Ocean. It didn't respond to any of the Mate's potions, lotions or injections, instead, just getting steadily worse, a whole lot worse. It was decided that a doctor's advice was needed and there followed a set of relayed instructions from a medic on Mauritius, via 3BA, Mauritiusradio, all in CW of course. This went on for several days, but nothing we had worked at all. In the finish, he was repatriated from HK, so hope he got better. I always privately thought it was something psychosomatic in nature, seeing how powerful his aversion (and possibly fears) to having to visit communist China again was, for whatever reason.

The radio side of it was interesting for me. As a very young and fairly inexperienced R/O in 1971, I felt the pressure to get it right, relaying verbal instructions and queries from the Mate and Old Man, who would be standing right behind me as I keyed, worried looks on their faces.

Having spent a whole month in Shanghai, I can easily understand him not wanting to be there as the man who would have to take the brunt of anything from the communists. A very frightening, and in a couple of instances, threatening place to be. I was accosted at gunpoint while on the boat deck, reading a novel, when two soldiers came a'running. They didn't like the look of the paperback, it turned out, and angrily grabbed it off me, after scaring me out of my tree with contorted, seriously angry faces and even more threatening gestures with their rifles in my face, all with incomprehensible Chinese shouting going on. Reckon I was lucky not to have joined the Master and 2/O of another BI ship, who were languishing at that very moment in a jail somewhere nearby, no doubt on some trumped up charges. That incident was well known to us, and we had been warned in no uncertain terms, before leaving Capetown, to be very careful indeed with anything we thought, said or did while in China. I remember there being lots of diplomatic exchanges to try and secure their release, but at the time, nothing seemed to cut it with the Chinese, who were adamant that the two of them should serve out long sentences. I only hope they did eventually get home again and didn't have to go back to that country.

Last edited by Paul Braxton; 8th October 2019 at 00:22..
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  #4  
Old 8th October 2019, 21:20
harry t. harry t. is offline
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Rome Radio

I do remember on one occasion in the mid-1970’s we called Rome Radio for advice/assistance. on their short-wave radio frequency. We, the senior officers, couldn’t find or agree on a diagnosis after taking it in turns, reading the Ship Masters Medical Guide. We usually became ‘experts’ at this diagnosing, after a few beers. On this occasion on a great circle from Japan to the Panama, close to the Aleutian Islands, we couldn’t agree which of our possible four short listed conditions the Chief Engineer was suffering from. After calling Rome Radio for help they decided it was serious, as likely as not, a diabetic coma, and arranged a rendezvous with an American Coastguard cutter to the north of Medway Island. Sadly, a couple of days later the poor soul passed away on the morning of the planned rendezvous.
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  #5  
Old 11th October 2019, 00:25
gordonarfur gordonarfur is offline
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In the red sea we had a freezer with a smashed hand, tried IAR no joy QRN awful even on 12mcs, a port line ship was about 100 miles behind us with a doc on board gave us some advice but we dropped him at suez for further treatment.
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  #6  
Old 11th October 2019, 00:33
djringjr djringjr is offline  
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IRM was separate from Rome Radio (IAR). International Radio Medical founded by Marconi himself. IAR could get on the telephone and ask IRM to listen for you on 16 MHz as they strangely did not guard 16, only 8, 12, and 22 MHz.

I used them, they were excellent. They must share information with others because one day west of. AZORES they had St. John, Newfoundland, VON contact me with XXX Medico traffic on 500 kHz just under 1,000 nautical miles at 11 AM local.

Great service!

73

David
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  #7  
Old 11th October 2019, 00:50
Buck Taylor Buck Taylor is offline
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During the odd times I monitored CIRM, their signal(s) were always weak and subject to lots of QRN. I'd imagine unless you were in close proximity to the med or actually in the med, you would have difficulty in maintaining a viable medical exchange of information.
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  #8  
Old 11th October 2019, 05:46
Baulkham Hills Baulkham Hills is online now  
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Bill Pugsley told me this one. On a Chevron tanker somebody had a haemorrhage and was found unresponsive with blood everywhere. There was a Medical advise centre based in the states which Chevron used. This centre advised resuscitation, though no pulse could be found, this centre insisted on resuscitation which continued for 8 hours until the Master lost patience and told the centre that the patient was dead and no amount of resuscitation was going to work.
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  #9  
Old 13th October 2019, 16:11
Avraham Ariel Avraham Ariel is offline  
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Radio Medico

I used CIRM about half a dozen times in the early 1960s while a master with Zim and Black Star Line. I was very satisfied – and grateful – for their service. My best MEDICO story, though, is not about CIRM.
In 1959 I was a chief mate aboard a Zim vessel en route from Haifa to Freetown. While not far from Cape Vert, one seaman fell sick and the master sought medical advice. Sparks was somewhat lazy and preferred working MF rather HF. He talked the master to send his message to Dakar Medico instead of to CIRM. When I came on watch at 16:00 the furious master showed me the reply he just received: “The idiots are telling me to give the sailor medicine we do not stock on board!”, he barked. I looked at that cable and burst into laugh. The doctor prescribed Acid Acetyl Salicyl. The captain did not believe it was the chemical name for Aspirin….
In a way that doctor was an idiot, not to use the commercial name. He knew very well he was communicating with seafarers, not with pharmacists.
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  #10  
Old 13th October 2019, 17:10
P.Arnold P.Arnold is offline
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In a recent “behind the scenes” documentary on airlines, there was a few minutes showing a case of a passenger with medical difficulties whilst in flight. Medical advice was requested from Rome medico Radio,... not on CW I might add.
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  #11  
Old 15th October 2019, 23:23
Brian Davidson Brian Davidson is offline  
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Avraham Ariel View Post
I used CIRM about half a dozen times in the early 1960s while a master with Zim and Black Star Line. I was very satisfied – and grateful – for their service. My best MEDICO story, though, is not about CIRM.
In 1959 I was a chief mate aboard a Zim vessel en route from Haifa to Freetown. While not far from Cape Vert, one seaman fell sick and the master sought medical advice. Sparks was somewhat lazy and preferred working MF rather HF. He talked the master to send his message to Dakar Medico instead of to CIRM. When I came on watch at 16:00 the furious master showed me the reply he just received: “The idiots are telling me to give the sailor medicine we do not stock on board!”, he barked. I looked at that cable and burst into laugh. The doctor prescribed Acid Acetyl Salicyl. The captain did not believe it was the chemical name for Aspirin….
In a way that doctor was an idiot, not to use the commercial name. He knew very well he was communicating with seafarers, not with pharmacists.
Reminds me of my time on Miranda, trawler mother ship. She carried a doctor. A very sick fisherman was taken onboard who the doc was attending to. He came into the radio room with two full pages of doctor handwritten scribble about the fishermans condition and treatment. He was seeking further advice from a shore based doc. There were hundreds of words, very few of which I could actually recognise! He was about to leave the radio room when I stopped him and said "Sorry, I'm not a pharmacist, can you print the whole message out again please". He wasn't very happy having to do it.
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  #12  
Old 16th October 2019, 02:18
duncs duncs is offline  
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I used it once. A lecky with problems. They were very good. (all wt)

Last edited by duncs; 16th October 2019 at 02:23.. Reason: Mention it was all wt
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  #13  
Old 12th November 2019, 21:15
Larry Bennett's Avatar
Larry Bennett Larry Bennett is offline  
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CIRM still operational - even has its own section in ALRS Vol 1. These days satellite-based of course but still providing a valuable service.

Larry +
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