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Preventing Drowning And Other Submersion Injuries

This is another post derived from a presentation given at the 2011 Annual Summer Meeting of the Wilderness Medical Society. Tracy Cushing, MD, of the University of Colorado School of Medicine gave an excellent presentation on submersion injury—i.e., the dangers of becoming submerged under water. What follows is some of what we learned.

Historically there have been many terms and definitions, such as “drowning,” “near-drowning,” “dry drowning,” and others. Current experts favor the term “submersion injury” as any adverse effect from submersion in water. This commonly causes difficulty breathing, for many reasons. “Immersion syndrome” refers to the situation where there is a lethal heart rhythm during or after a cold-water exposure, usually attributed to stimulation of the vagus nerve, which slows the heart rate. “Shallow water blackout” refers to a person becoming unconscious after hyperventilating prior to attempting a lengthy period of breath-holding underwater.

Drowning is the Read more »

This post, Preventing Drowning And Other Submersion Injuries, was originally published on Healthine.com by Paul Auerbach, M.D..

MedWAR Allows Participants To Negotiate A Series Of Medical And Wilderness Challenges

This is another post derived from a presentation given at the 2011 Annual Summer Meeting of the Wilderness Medical Society. Michael Caudell, M.D. from the Medical College of Georgia gave an excellent talk entitled “Scenario-Based Learning in the Wilderness and the Creation of MedWAR.”

MedWAR  (Medical Wilderness Adventure Race) is considered a challenge, and takes preparation and skill to complete. Using simulations, participants have to negotiate a series of medical and wilderness challenges. It involves both individual acumen and group dynamics. The MedWAR model is based on critical actions, all of which begin with scene safety, the “ABCs” (airway, breathing, circulation) of a medical resuscitation, and the particular scenario. Victims may be dressed as victims using moulage to simulate injuries, and scene settings are made as realistic as possible. Wilderness medicine is grounded in realism, and laced with improvisation, stress, creativity, and resourcefulness. The MedWAR concept is Read more »

This post, MedWAR Allows Participants To Negotiate A Series Of Medical And Wilderness Challenges, was originally published on Healthine.com by Paul Auerbach, M.D..

How Are Medical Personnel Involved In Search And Rescue Missions?

This is another post derived from a presentation given at the 2011 Annual Summer Meeting of the Wilderness Medical Society. Aaron Billin delivered an excellent lecture on search and rescue.

Search and rescue has been defined a few different ways. Two definitions are: “the use of available resources to assist persons or property in potential or actual distress” and “an operation to retrieve persons in distress, provide for their initial medical or other needs, and deliver them to a place of safety.” Search and rescue types are mountain rescue, combat search and rescue, air-sea rescue, urban search and rescue, and ground search and rescue.

Organized search and rescue is the responsibility of national arks, state parks, county sheriffs, state conservation officers, or state police. Most search and rescue missions are carried out by volunteer groups. Ninety percent of all rescues involve Read more »

This post, How Are Medical Personnel Involved In Search And Rescue Missions?, was originally published on Healthine.com by Paul Auerbach, M.D..

Treating Combat Injuries And Its Similarities To Wilderness Medicine

The 2011 Annual Summer Meeting of the Wilderness Medical Society that was held in Snowmass, Colorado was excellent and provided terrific education for all in attendance. In a series of posts, I’ll highlight some of what we learned.

Brad Bennett gave a wonderful lecture on Tactical Combat Casualty Care (TCCC) for the Wilderness Provider. Military medicine and wilderness medicine share certain common elements: extreme and remote environments, a practice of medicine where definitive care can be hours or days away, difficult patient access, limited medical personnel and equipment, prompt decision making, creative thinking, and improvisation. Medical injuries may overwhelm resources and evacuation may be delayed due to environment conditions and the features of the terrain.

In military situations, Read more »

This post, Treating Combat Injuries And Its Similarities To Wilderness Medicine, was originally published on Healthine.com by Paul Auerbach, M.D..

Guidelines For The Treatment And Prevention Of Frostbite

Led by Scott McIntosh, MD and his colleagues, the Wilderness Medical Society has published “Practice Guidelines for the Prevention and Treatment of Frostbite” (Wild Environ Med 2011:22;156-166). These guidelines are intended to provide clinicians about best evidence-based practices, and were derived from the deliberations of an expert panel, of which I was a member. The guidelines present the main prophylactic and therapeutic modalities for frostbite and provide recommendations for their roles in patient management. The guidelines also provide suggested approaches to prevention and management of each disorder that incorporate the recommendations.

In outline format, here is what can be found in these guidelines: Read more »

This post, Guidelines For The Treatment And Prevention Of Frostbite, was originally published on Healthine.com by Paul Auerbach, M.D..

Latest Interviews

IDEA Labs: Medical Students Take The Lead In Healthcare Innovation

It’s no secret that doctors are disappointed with the way that the U.S. healthcare system is evolving. Most feel helpless about improving their work conditions or solving technical problems in patient care. Fortunately one young medical student was undeterred by the mountain of disappointment carried by his senior clinician mentors…

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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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Latest Book Reviews

Book Review: Is Empathy Learned By Faking It Till It’s Real?

I m often asked to do book reviews on my blog and I rarely agree to them. This is because it takes me a long time to read a book and then if I don t enjoy it I figure the author would rather me remain silent than publish my…

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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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Eat To Save Your Life: Another Half-True Diet Book

I am hesitant to review diet books because they are so often a tangled mess of fact and fiction. Teasing out their truth from falsehood is about as exhausting as delousing a long-haired elementary school student. However after being approached by the authors’ PR agency with the promise of a…

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