Dr Amy Hughes, Medical Director of Expedition Medicine gives her view on the recent Keswick Expedition Medicine course

Dr Amy Hughes, Expedition Medicine
Dr Amy Hughes, Expedition Medicine

Write up UK Keswick Course March 2011

Blue sky. Stunning landscape and 63 medics. The first of the 2011 UK Expedition medicine courses encompassed all of these during its four day run in March two weeks ago. It was an absolutely beautiful setting in BarrowHouse Youth Hostel overlooking Derwent Water and surrounded by enticing Lake District scenery.

With a combination of lecture based and outdoor practical sessions, the course covered an array of all possible expedition medicine topics one could want, and the team ensured each day started with the development of a very new – albeit pretty useless  – lifeskill – whether this be the art of balloon racing, the speed of penguin racing or the logistics of passing the hand squeeze……!

Expedition Medicine had the  wonderful Chris Imray (of Extreme Everest fame) joining the faculty for three of the days , imparting artfully his knowledge and immense skill base in cold weather medicine  – be it altitude, frostbite, blood gases on top of Everest or HAPE. As one of the participants summarised perfectly in his feedback form when asked to list his three favourite lectures of the course  …’’anything involving Chris Imray’’ ……

The four days aimed to have a balance of both the academic nature of expedition medicine  – be it diving physiology, tropical medicine, legal aspects, heat  – and the practicalities of expedition medicine – be it lateral thinking , communication skills, rope skills, improvised stretchers, pre- hospital wilderness resuscitation, radio use,  voice procedure, extricating a casualty from a vehicle or search and rescue techniques –  which it seemed to achieve successfully aided by a wonderfully diverse and experienced faculty. Plus some great socialising and networking over a beer in the shadowed hills of the Lakes.

So a great course, one we hope was  inspiring , and the start for many of a journey into a fantastically challenging, diverse and thoroughly exciting world of expedition medicine…..