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Explorers Provocateurs: Medicine on the Mountain

November 2, 2015

I was fortunate enough to be invited along yesterday on the most recent San Francisco Explorer Club’s occasional field trips, this one to Mount Diablo for an informal “Field Medicine” tutorial by the inimitable Dr. Paul Freitas.

The doc himself has been medico-proper on several Quark expeditions to the Antarctic, and is quite versed in the ad hoc treatment of sprains and breaks and more serious trauama resulting from falls, in the careful administration of field diagnosis of the un- or barely-conscious. He was joined in this sharing of arcane knowledge by Von Hurson, EMT and snow-rescue maven extraordinaire.

En route we had a number of staged accidents, designed to demonstrate the various uses of duct tape (splints), climbing rope (emergency carry equipment), blankets and outwear (drafted into stretcher use), enhanced with a brief but significant lesson in what to say and do to the injured party and more importantly what not to do until you are sure that the accident has not resulted in a broken neck or back.

This brief refresher on boy scout first aid learned—well, a few decades back—was a sobering lesson on “being prepared.” Often this means more than thinking ahead (have you prepared your trek-kit?). Being prepared to improvise with the materials at hand may well prove to be more important. This is a life-lesson worth adopting for whatever endeavor you may take on.

Dr. Paul’s resume of notable field events include the rescue of a foolhardy man fallen into and stuck in the V 24 feet down an Antarctic crevasse, and the hypodermic draining of fluid from around a distressed heart in a makeshift OR on a sea-tossed ship.

For us, a picnic and some shared stories. These explorers, what a curious band they are.

2 Comments leave one →
  1. November 3, 2015 5:52 pm

    Thought provoking as always. Thank U.

  2. November 5, 2015 2:02 pm

    Look forward 2 hearing the rest of the story!!!!!!!

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