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Rescued Chilean Miners in Good Health
Date:10/14/2010

By Steven Reinberg
HealthDay Reporter

THURSDAY, Oct. 14 (HealthDay News) -- As the world held its breath Wednesday, transfixed by the rescue of the 33 Chilean miners who had been trapped underground for 69 days, early indications were that the men had survived their ordeal in surprisingly good health.

After the first wave of miners reached the Earth's surface, Chile's health minister, Jaime Manalich, told a news conference that all the men were in good shape, and none had required any special medication, the Associated Press reported.

"Things are going extraordinarily well so far," Manalich said. "We have had very, very minor problems."

By late Wednesday, the last of the miners had been transported to safety.

Manalich said late Wednesday that some of the miners would probably be able to leave the hospital Thursday -- earlier than anticipated. But many of the men had been unable to sleep, wanted to talk with their families and were anxious. One was treated for pneumonia, and two needed dental work, he said, the AP reported.

But medical experts cautioned that the rescue of the miners was just the first step on a longer road to recovery. Among the health concerns: the lingering effects of lack of sunlight, lack of sleep, poor nutrition and poor sanitation.

The miners' mental health is also a concern. They must be reintroduced to their families and society and deal with their sudden celebrity status.

No one in recorded history has survived as long trapped underground as the 33 men, the AP reported.

The miners, who were evacuated with a rescue capsule that traveled up and down a 2,041-foot escape shaft, were switched to a liquid diet six hours before their rescue to reduce the chances of vomiting as they were pulled to the surface. And because of their long confinement, the men were given special sunglasses to wear to make sure they didn't suffer damage to their
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