Rescue Just the First Step in Chilean Miners' Recovery

Chilean Miners, Claudio Yanez
Chilean Miners, Claudio Yanez

No one in recorded history has survived as long trapped underground as the 33 miners in Chile. For the first 17 days, no one even knew whether they were alive.

As the Chilean miners are rescued one by one, they are allowed to briefly reunite with their families before they are whisked to a hospital for a number of tests.

After spending more than two months underground, they will now be evaluated by a number of doctors and remain in hospital for at least two days.  During that time they’ll be monitored and receive physical and mental health care.

All will need medical attention, to ensure their health.  But most importantly, they will need a psychological assessment. 

Mental health will be a concern. The miners must be reintroduced to their families and society. Although they are obviously grateful to be alive, they’ll also need to deal with their sudden celebrity status and media attention.

Post-traumatic stress my kick in, as well as depression and anxiety.  Dr. Michael Duncan, the deputy chief medical officer at Johnson Space Center, told CNN, “The work is just beginning when the miners get out of the mine.”

Doctors will keep an eye out for things like nightmares, panic attacks, anxiety and claustrophobia, among other potential issues.

Once the miners are given a “clean” bill of health, they will be released to their families.  But the long-term effects of their confinement will yet to be seen.

The fact that they survived this ordeal since being trapped since August 5th, I am positive that being reunited with their families and their faith will keep these miners going.