Risk Management & First Aid

The Risk Management and First Aid Group focuses on managing safety in outdoor programming.

Wilderness Medicine

Observations, questions and dialogue on wilderness medicine topics.
  • Wilderness Medicine

    Raccoon Roundworm

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    According to the New York Daily News, Raccoon Roundwarm, a rare disease, has left an infant brain damaged and a teenager blind in one eye. While this disease is considered to be rare in humans, like other parasitic diseases, it can be very serious. Backcountry...
  • Wilderness Medicine

    Scorpion anti-venom

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    There is a study in today’s New England Journal of Medicine on an anti-venom for the bark scorpion Centruroides sculpturatus . Antivenom for the bark scorpion is a single sentence in our WFR curriculum “There is an antivenom available for...
  • Wilderness Medicine

    Immunization Patch for Infectious Diarrhea

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    by Paul Auerbach, M.D. reposted with permission from the Medicine for the Outdoors Blog Infectious diarrhea from all causes is a major cause of morbidity and mortality among international travelers, including those who frequent wilderness areas. It would...
  • Wilderness Medicine

    Rattlesnake Bite Tale

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    There is an article on the front page of the May 22, 2009 Casper Star Tribune, Wyoming's main newspaper. The gist of the tale is a dog bitten on the nose by a rattlesnake. It's owner sucks “venom” from the wound with his mouth, then...
  • Wilderness Medicine

    Are Sunscreens Effective?

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    by Paul Auerbach, M.D. reposted with permission from the Medicine for the Outdoors Blog Nearly a year ago, there was a news item that suggested that many sunscreens are ineffective, despite manufacturers' claims to the contrary. As best I can tell...
  • Wilderness Medicine

    Lightning in the Mountains

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    I spent last week in the Wind Rivers with my daughter and two of my sons. One afternoon at 10,000’ we had a tremendous thunderstorm, likely fueled by monsoon moisture drifting north from the remnants of hurricane Dean. Thor’s bolts and simultaneous flash...
  • Wilderness Medicine

    Two People in a Sleeping Bag

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    If you teach a class on treating hypothermia in the wilderness you are bound to be asked about the value of a warm person snuggling with a cold person in a sleeping bag. Actually, snuggling may not be the best word, because putting aside the giggles this...
  • Wilderness Medicine

    Search

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    I’ve trained many a young WFR and WEMT student who was interested in becoming involved with search and rescue. They’re captivated by the excitement and glory of it all. Little do they know, the challenging and dramatic technical rescue is rare, and often...
  • Wilderness Medicine

    The Milch Technique for Reducing a Shoulder Dislocation

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    Medicine for the Outdoors Blog by Paul Auerbach, M.D. reposted with permission This post is contributed by Dr. Jeremy Joslin, an avid outdoor enthusiast who is currently training to become an emergency physician. Here goes: After a long day trekking through...
  • Wilderness Medicine

    Defining Hypothermia

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    Why is it taught that hypothermia occurs whenever someone is shivering or their temperature drops by a degree or two? I’ve read in several medical texts that the definition of hypothermia is a core body temperature below 95F(35C). (A question from a student...
  • Wilderness Medicine

    A Dislocation Tale

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    One of the illusions about wilderness medicine is that we teach our students techniques which are beyond our skill or experience, that really are the province of a physician. Some of the blame for this miss-perception lies in wilderness medicine instructors...
  • Wilderness Medicine

    NOLS Incident Database Paper Published

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    A new paper based on the National Outdoor Leadership School's Incident database has been published in the Journal of Wilderness and Environmental Medicine (18, 298-304(2007). It gives a perspective on injury and illness rates at NOLS from 2002-2005...
  • Wilderness Medicine

    Medical Decision-Making

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    As an ambulance EMT I make an assessment, provide necessary treatment, and in most cases transport the patient. I rarely make a decision whether or not the patient needs to see the doctor. Yet in the wilderness this may be my decision to make. My judgment...
  • Wilderness Medicine

    General First-Aid Principles

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    by Paul Auerbach, M.D. reposted with permission from the Medicine for the Outdoors Blog The following is adapted from Medicine for the Outdoors : In all first-aid situations, the rescuer must remain calm. If you panic, you may lose control of the victim...
  • Wilderness Medicine

    Treatment for Burns

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    by Paul Auerbach, M.D. reposted with permission from the Medicine for the Outdoors Blog 1. Remove the victim from the source of the burn. If his clothing is on fire, roll him on the ground or smother him in a blanket to extinguish the flames. If the victim...
  • Wilderness Medicine

    Sea Bather’s Rash

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    by Paul Auerbach, M.D. reposted with permission from the Medicine for the Outdoors Blog From the month of May through September, oceangoers along the U.S. Gulf coast need to be concerned about a particular form of skin rash caused by tiny jellyfish. As...
  • Wilderness Medicine

    Immersion Foot

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    The view from my window is of the eastern slope of the Wind River Range. The high country gleams white with snow. The lower slopes are green with spring, or white with snow, depending on the day, or sometimes the hour. My hike last weekend was a combination...
  • Wilderness Medicine

    Treatment Principles

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    In Dr. Jerome Groopman’s “How Doctors Think” there is a tale of medical students from two different schools being told that two entirely different approaches to a problem are the gold standard. As they started to practice medicine they...
  • Wilderness Medicine

    Disinfect, or drink?

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    We all need to drink water in the backcountry, but do we need to disinfect it? The latest edition of the Journal of Wilderness and Environmental Medicine (Vol 19, Num 2) has an article looking at risk factors for contaminated water in the Sierra Nevada...
  • Wilderness Medicine

    Laceration Repair in the Wilderness

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    by Paul Auerbach, M.D. reposted with permission from the Medicine for the Outdoors Blog . I'm delighted to present another guest post from Jeremy Joslin, M.D., entitled "Laceration Repair in the Wilderness": The Scenario It always happens...
  • Wilderness Medicine

    Tomatoes and Salmonella

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    by Paul Auerbach, M.D. reposted with permission from the Medicine for the Outdoors Blog Let's just say that people who like to be outdoors are often the same people who like to eat tomatoes. Tomatoes are a staple food at cookouts, on backpacking trips...
  • Wilderness Medicine

    Splinting

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    A recent edition of an urban EMT magazine has an article on splinting that opens with a tale of a patient being transported with an un-splinted ankle fracture, and a reference to a study where only 25% of patients with extremity fractures had their injuries...
  • Wilderness Medicine

    National Estimates of Outdoor Recreational Injuries

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    by Paul Auerbach, M.D. reposted with permission from the Medicine for the Outdoors Blog In Volume 19, Number 2 (2008) of the journal Wilderness & Environmental Medicine appears an original research article entitled "National Estimates of Outdoor...
  • Wilderness Medicine

    Epinephrine Roundtable

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    Last evening I sat on a roundtable discussion on the the use of epinephrine in the backcountry at the 25th Anniversary and Annual Meeting of the Wilderness Medical Society. Dave Johnson MD from Wilderness Medical Associates was the initiative on this...
  • Wilderness Medicine

    Summer Health Tips

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    by Paul Auerbach, M.D. reposted with permission from the Medicine for the Outdoors Blog I was recently invited by Revolution Health to offer their readers a few summer safety tips to beat the "silent summer spoilers." The following is a modified...
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