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The Antarctic settlement where having an appendix is BANNED

Go under the knife for an amazing new life: The Antarctic settlement where having an appendix is BANNED

  • The town of Villa Las Estrellas is on King George Island off the coast of Chile
  • It’s home to 46 people and is the location of a research station and military base
  • Officials do have a very good reason for asking residents to go under the knife 

Living in a remote town in the Antarctic already means sacrificing quite a lot – weather that doesn’t give you frostbite, pubs with roaring fires and fine dining experiences.

But officials in the Antarctic village of Villa Las Estrellas on King George Island ask residents to go the extra mile – and sacrifice their appendix.

But they have a sensible reason. 

The remote Chilean town of Villa las Estrellas on King George Island – where appendixes are banned

According to the BBC, the operation must be carried out on people who plan to stay in the Chilean settlement because the nearest hospital is over 600 miles away.

While there are doctors living on the military and research base, none are specialist surgeons able to treat appendicitis, which requires immediate surgery.


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This means that before going to the base, residents undergo a pre-emptive appendectomy to avoid any emergency situations.

However, despite the remoteness of the settlement, the Presidente Eduardo Frei Montalva military base does boast a school, library, post office, radio station, bank and supermarket.

Some of the buildings on the military base in Villa las Estrellas, which is home to around 46 people

An appendix removal is a necessary precaution for anybody staying long-term in the town as hospitals are over 600 miles away 

But conditions can be harsh, especially in the winter where temperatures dip as low as -47C and people have to stay indoors, or risk death.

This means that most people just live on the island during the summer, but even this comes with hardship, because daylight is constant.

And fresh vegetables are rare all year round.

Plus, dogs are banned in case they introduce diseases to indigenous wildlife.

But animal companionship (of sorts) may be possible in Villa Las Estrellas because there are two creatures in abundance there – adelie penguins and elephant seals. 

It is reported that because they have never been hunted, the penguins often walk without fear right up to their human neighbours.

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