Lions and leopards weren't the only menace that the 16 players on Survivor: Africa had to, well, survive. With malaria-bearing mosquitoes in the air and scorpions crawling on the ground, the show's behind-the-scenes medical team was on constant alert and saw enough patients to pack a season of ER!
Five hours from the nearest city, Survivor doctor Adrian Cohen and team of six medics ran a field hospital in the Kenyan scrubland. With contestants and crew totaling nearly 400, the day-to-day maintenance was high. But don't expect to see any of that medical drama on the air. "If they cut themselves and needed to be stitched up, you would not see that," Cohen tells TV Guide Online. "If it's part of the reason that they leave the show in a dramatic fashion, then you will."
While he's tightlipped about details, we're relatively certain there are no sudden exits like that of Survivor: The Australian Outback's Michael Skupin, who was airlifted away after falling into a campfire. But Cohen hints two crewmembers did fall prey to serious illness or injury. "I shouldn't really talk about the individual cases," the doc demurs, then adds: "We were in a part of the world where malaria is prevalent."
To avoid malaria and other health risks, the contestants received a pre-Africa briefing. As Cohen who also hosts the new series Medquest
wryly explains: "We told them, 'If you're unlucky enough to have your arm bitten off by a lion, please
try and bring it back with you. It makes it that much easier to put back on. And if two or three of you are involved, then know which is your
arm. There is no use in walking around with two left arms because you didn't tell us which belonged to which.'"