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Complications Associated With The Rescue Of Injured Persons In Isolated Environments

Mountains by the ocean in Antarctica.Isolated environments combined with austere circumstances sometimes call for extraordinary measures, and in particular call for planning in advance for situations of multi-casualty incidents. Many, if not most, austere settings are in outdoor or frankly wilderness settings. Anyone who spends considerable time in the outdoors is going to sooner or later encounter a group of individuals in need of assistance in a setting of limited resources. This could be a scout troop suffering sunburn, multiple persons stung by a swarm of bees, a group of people struck by lightning, or a carful of people in a vehicle swamped and trapped in a flood. A winter camping expedition might be overcome by an unanticipated storm that generates victims of hypothermia. At the ends of the earth, the risks may be greater and multiplied by the very difficult logistics of rescue and evacuation.

Christopher Mills, MD and colleagues recently published a very interesting article entitled “Mass Casualty Incident Response and Aeromedical Evacuation in Antarctica” (Western Journal of Medicine 2011;12(1):37-42). This excellent review addresses the complications of multiple environmental and operational challenges, and highlights that Read more »

This post, Complications Associated With The Rescue Of Injured Persons In Isolated Environments, was originally published on by Paul Auerbach, M.D..

The Psychology Of Survival

By ClinkShrink

I read this BBC story recently about the Chilean miners trapped for 17 days, who now face months of waiting underground while a rescue tunnel is dug. Although they are all physically well and expected to survive, they face the psychological challenge of waiting for rescue from the cave.

This story resonated with me because lately I’ve been hearing a lot about a new book, No Way Down, which was featured on NPR along with some other mountain disaster books. No Way Down covered the story of several teams of mountain climbers who were stranded on K2 when an icefall cut their ropes. Most of the climbers died although a few managed to pick their way back to base camp.

Survival stories have always been popular. Entire television series now feature teams of people pitted against one another to overcome some test or challenge. Disaster movies were popular back in the ’70s, when the Towering Inferno, Airport and the Poseidon Adventure let us watch people get picked off one by one.

Why do we love this stuff? Read more »

*This blog post was originally published at Shrink Rap*

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IDEA Labs: Medical Students Take The Lead In Healthcare Innovation

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How To Be A Successful Patient: Young Doctors Offer Some Advice

I am proud to be a part of the American Resident Project an initiative that promotes the writing of medical students residents and new physicians as they explore ideas for transforming American health care delivery. I recently had the opportunity to interview three of the writing fellows about how to…

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The Spirit Of The Place: Samuel Shem’s New Book May Depress You

When I was in medical school I read Samuel Shem s House Of God as a right of passage. At the time I found it to be a cynical yet eerily accurate portrayal of the underbelly of academic medicine. I gained comfort from its gallows humor and it made me…

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