4 excellent reasons to choose our renowned Expedition and Wilderness Medicine course

If you’re a medic with a passion for adventure and travel looking to enhance your career then one of our internationally renowned Expedition and Wilderness Medicine courses is for you!

This comprehensive introductory training course in expedition and wilderness medicine brings together likeminded medics from a variety of backgrounds and career stages all sharing the same common desire – to bring more adventure into their careers and blend their passion for travel, adventure and the great outdoors with their medical skills. Our Expedition and Wilderness Medicine courses provides a good basic entry level into expedition medicine for those with no or little experience just beginning their extreme medicine journey. It’s also equally as useful for those who have previously been on expeditions as medics but are now wanting to add more strings to their bow.

With a 50/50 mix of engaging lecture content and hands on practical group work taking place over the first 3 days and evenings spent socialising, taking on challenge tasks and special guest lectures, the final day will focus on a search and rescue scenario where you’ll combine all your newly learnt skills to locate, rescue, treat and evacuate a casualty. Throughout the course you will be encouraged in new ways of thinking and new approaches to problem solving as well as challenging your abilities to adapt to unpredictable situations – a must-have when taking on any type of expedition.

4 excellent reasons to choose our Expedition and Wilderness Medicine course:

  • Earn CPD credits and further your career – add more adventure to your career and bring new challenges by learning and enhancing your knowledge and skill set to ensure you are in the best possible position to further your career. For those attending and completing the course, accreditation will be offered (we estimate 24 hours of CPD) through the Royal College of Surgeons of Edinburgh.
  • Expedition and Wilderness topics explained – across the 4 days you’ll cover a broad range of topics including expedition planning, security, managing difficult people, dentistry, climate specific lectures, hill skills as well as having the unique opportunity to hear inspiring ‘real-life’ stories from the WEM faculty.
  • Practical hands on experience – throughout your time with us, there will be practical workshops on field-proven techniques to inspire and enhance your skills; helping you to become a more effective and highly valued practitioner of expedition and wilderness medicine.
  • Expert faculty – between them our remarkable expert team have a depth of knowledge and experience, living and working in the most remote corners of the world, achieving notable success in the face of extreme challenge and adversity.

If you needed any more reason to join us on our next course and take your career to the extreme, you might be interested to know Expedition and Wilderness Medicine course alumni have left to take part in expeditions across the globe, responded to natural disasters and emergencies and have gained placements with organisations such as Raleigh International, UK-Med, Team Rubicon and Médecins Sans Frontières.

Our Expedition and Wilderness Medicine course also comes highly recommended from past course attendees:

I’ve literately spent my last 4 days messing around on hills and learning some expedition medicine. Would recommend ‘Expedition and Wilderness Medicine’ course from @ExpedMedicine to anyone who is interested in working outside of the hospital or GP practice.

George, 2019 Expedition and Wilderness Medicine course attendee

Take your first steps to becoming an expedition medic that could see you travelling the world, simply choose your preferred dates and location and book your place today!

March 2020 – Keswick
May 2020 – Plas y Brenin
October 2020 – Corfe Castle
Oct 2020 – Slovenia


Other blogs that may be of interest, include:


Heli-Rescue operation in Chitwan National Park, Nepal

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On April 8th 2019, a rhinoceros charged into a group of 3 tourists and 2 guides in Chitwan National Park, injuring a young Australian tourist. It quickly became evident that surgery would be needed to deal with the injuries, but the remote location (the national park is located 150km southwest of Kathmandu, capital of Nepal), meant that providing medical care would be tricky.

Luckily, a rapidly evolving HEMS team was able to provide assistance and ensure the effective treatment of those involved.

This is the story, as told by Dr Sanjaya Karki:

The rhinoceros injured an 18-year-old Australian male, biting his right thigh and striking him several times over his chest, abdomen and left leg. One of the guides, a 51-year-old male, intervened and he too was struck on his chest by the agitated rhino.

The rhino fled after the intervention, and the guides called local security personnel and local health workers. The injured were carried to safety inside the forest itself and the wounds were tended to. They called Simrik Air, a helicopter operator active in rescue services in Nepal, to request the evacuation of the injured. In light of the severity of injuries, the operator requested that the helicopter emergency medical service team of Nepal Mediciti Hospital assist with the rescue and provide necessary medical help. Nepal Mediciti Hospital and Simrik Air have collaborated for multiple successful medevac and rescue missions throughout the years.

The craft used for this mission was Bell 407GXP, call sign 9N-ALT, piloted by Captain Siddhartha Jung Gurung.

Soon after the information was collected from the dispatch centre, the medical doctor at the pre-hospital care department started to gather the best possible information from the ground. Within just a few minutes, the message was sent to the respected departments and with all the required equipment and gear, the team went up in the helipad.

The helicopter reached the exact location of the injured 25 minuted later. The team got to work immediately, with onboard medics from the HEMS team of Nepal Mediciti Hospital, Dr Abhijit Adhikary and Paramedic Ekadev Neupane stabilising the patients on-site before bringing them safely back to the hospital. The patients needed splinting of injured limbs, pain management and fluid resuscitation. One patient was placed on a mattress and the next was on a scope, and both patients were fitted with a monitor looking for vital signs throughout the journey.

On arrival at the ER, further lab investigations and imaging were completed. The young Australian tourist was diagnosed with a comminuted fracture of shaft of the right femur with multiple deep lacerations. He was admitted and surgeries were carried out in multiple settings. The Nepalese guide was diagnosed with left-sided minimal hemopneumothorax, and was conservatively managed. Both the patients are recovering well in the hospital.


Collaborations between helicopter operators and Hospitals, like in this instance, have contributed to better patient outcomes in recent years. In Nepal, the first helicopter was introduced in 1964. Today, the HEMS team in Nepal now have more than 10 helicopter operators and over 30 helicopters. These helicopters are an essential part of pre-hospital care in Nepal as many areas are inaccessible via road and the vast majority of the terrain is mountainous or hilly.

Dr Karki stated that the medical evacuation was a  “glowing example of how HEMS has advanced in Nepal”. 


Sequence of events:

11:31 am – Call received from the Helicopter operator Simrik Air.

11:36 am – Call back made to Simrik Air confirming our preparedness.

12:26 pm – Helicopter landed in Nepal Mediciti Helipad and HEMS team dispatched.

12:50 pm – First contact made with the injured on-site.

13:22 pm – Take off after initial stabilisation, pain management, splinting and fluid resuscitation of the patients.

13:55 pm – Patients brought into the ER.



This incredible tale was highlighted by Dr Sanjaya Karki, former winner of the David Weil Extreme Medicine Award.


Other blogs that may be of interest, include: 

Winners of the ‘David Weil Extreme Medicine Award’ (DWEMA) 2014. 


Mental Wellness and Leadership Resources – Apps, Articles and Aids recommended by WEMski faculty member Dr Kate Baecher

Mental Wellness and Leadership Resources.  Following an unbelievable week both on and off the slopes in Livigno, WEMski 2019 came to a close with a spectacular Mountain Top Party.

Although we might have left the snow, sun and skiing behind, the lessons learnt during the week will last for a long time. Clinical Psychologist Dr Kate Baecher has compiled a list of resources for our delegates, but we thought that these tools could be super helpful for someone in need, so we’ve turned her suggestions into a short blog post about Mental Wellness and Leadership Resources so they are available publicly for anyone who might need them…


PTSDUK – PTSD UK exists to share information and raise awareness of Post Traumatic Stress Disorder – to help everyone experiencing PTSD.

Phoenix Australia – Phoenix Australia is Australia’s primary research and training centre on all things trauma. You’ll find heaps of information including guidelines for treatment, support for families, friends and carers, and specific information for military and emergency services. And if you like a good lit review, you’ll find some great ones here.

Centre for Clinical Interventions – This website has some great resources on all sorts of mental health concerns, from procrastination to perfectionism. It also features lots of digestible information which includes modularised self-help workbooks.

Black Dog Institute – Another fantastic organisation offering a variety of resources on symptoms and tests.

Mind – Mind created the ‘Blue Light Programme’ to help specifically support those serving in the Emergency Services. They’ve created a fantastic guide to help you through your working day and beyond.

Mental Wellness and Leadership Resources Apps: 

High Res – perfect for military personnel and families. This app can assist in managing the daily stresses of military life, deployment, the transition to civilian life and post-service. It tests your physical, cognitive, emotional and behavioural reactions to stress and helps to adjust your response in real time by using the stress management tools in the app. This is done via psychological resilience and mental fitness exercises; and a resilience self-assessment.

PTSD Coach Australia – learn about and manage symptoms that commonly occur after trauma. The app features valuable information on PTSD and treatments, tools for screening and tracking your symptoms, as well as a schedule-tool that allows you to manage all your self-care, health appointments and activities.

Things to listen to: 

The RAW Medicine Podcast – Episode 7: Stress and Moral Injury with Brenton Queen.

TEDxHouston – The Power of Vulnerability, Brené Brown.

Social Media Groups:

Tea and Empathy – a closed Facebook group for mental health and support.

All Corps Signs – a military FB support group for mental health.

Mental Wellness and Leadership Resources Tools:

BMA – Wellbeing Support Services ‘Burnout’ Questionnaire. A confidential questionnaire that enables you to screen yourself for symptoms of burnout.

Mayo Clinic – Job Burnout: How to spot it and take action. A great guide covering symptoms, risk factors and consequences of burnout.

British Medical Journal – Optimising sleep for night shifts. A quick visual guide on how to prepare your sleep schedule for a night shift, as well as how to reset yourself after it’s finished.


ASIST 11 – Applied Suicide Intervention Skills Training. A two-day interactive workshop in suicide first aid. Participants will learn how to recognise when someone is having suicidal thoughts and help them to create a plan to support their safety.

Mental Health First Aid England – MHFA is a training course which teaches people how to identify and help someone who may be experiencing mental health issues.


New measures to deal with GP Fatigue announced today‘, by the Royal College of General Practitioners.

Wellbeing Help‘, by the Royal College of General Practitioners.

Doctor/Medic specific resources:

Royal Medical Benevolent Fund – The RMBF provides support to doctors and their families at all stages of their career and into retirement – from financial support to befriending schemes for those feeling isolated or in need of some help.

NHS Practitioner Health Programme – The NHS PHP is a free and confidential service for doctors and dentists facing mental health and addiction issues. They offer a wide range of services including new technologies and online resources.

Medical Students’ Mental Health – The medical school at Dundee University created a website to share information about mental health – it’s a great read for anyone in the early stages of their career.

General Medical Council – Supporting medical students with mental health conditions. The GMC has created a document tailored towards medical schools so that they can, in turn, support students with mental health conditions.

Military personnel specific resources:

All Call Signs – All Can Signs is a communication app, run by volunteers, that allows serving personnel and veterans to speak with someone via their online ‘chat’ service. Their vision is to utilise technology and the power of the community to improve the mental health of the military community.

Veterans UK – A government-run initiative that administers the armed forces pension schemes and compensation payments for those injured or bereaved through service. The also provide welfare support for veterans of any age.

Veterans with Dogs – this group is the first of its’ kind in the UK; helping Veterans with PTSD and other mental health conditions cope better with their symptoms and lead increasingly more independent lives using the help of a four-legged friend.

Combat Stress – turning 100 this year, Combat Stress is the UK’s leading charity for Veterans’ Mental Health. They offer a free helpline, treatment programmes and centres and a peer support group.

Surf Action – these guys make use of the coast to support military personnel and their families, especially those affected by PTSD, with physical injuries or struggling to re-adjust to civilian life. They run ‘Surf Clinics’, Residentials and a Buddy System, as well as a whole host of other projects.


There is also a self-care flow chart and a pocket-sized handbook of the ACCE model which includes self-care work and a collection of other mental health information. If you are interested in getting a copy, then email the office ( to request yours.


What is WEMski? 

WEMski is a week of learning focused on mental health awareness on both a personal and team level within the medical community. The timetable features a whole host of inspirational faculty and content created with extreme environment specialist Dr Kate Baecher, looking at the clinical psychology of leadership and teamwork in a variety of stressful working environments.

Join us and experience WEMski for yourself. Be part of something amazing and take your extreme medicine career to the next level.

Other blogs that may be of interest, include: 

WEM recently asked itself the question ‘who takes care of the careers?’

WEMski – be part of something out of the ordinary! 

Paediatric Trauma and Acute Care course: Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ’s)

We asked Eoin Walker, a London HEMS Paramedic, UKMED Team Member, WEM MSc in Extreme Medicine Faculty and our Paediatric Trauma course leader to run through the most frequently asked questions he gets asked regarding the course.

What content do you cover in the Paediatric Trauma course?
The course offers a fully immersive and highly practical hands-on approach to learning including various slow time simulations relevant to situations and scenarios you might find yourself, group workshops and faculty panel discussions. Attending the course will teach you the key skills needed to assess and stabilise a critically ill paediatric trauma patient in a pre-hospital environment including:

  • Paediatric trauma assessment and airway
  • IO (Intraosseous infusion) access and pain management
  • Paediatric traumatic and medical cardiac arrests
  • Breaking bad news in paediatric death, the 2nd patient
  • Integrated parent relationship management, non-technical skills and troubleshooting
  • Collapsed infant from Asthma, Anaphylaxis, Sepsis and Seizures
  • Medical assessment tools and FOI
  • Panel discussions with paediatric case scenarios
  • Kit familiarisation
  • Variations in approach to paediatric patients including the differences in Airway, Breathing and Circulation

Is cardiac arrest – medical and traumatic covered on the course?
Yes, both are covered across the two days within their own 45 minute integrated workshops, as well as enhanced fidelity simulations to increase learning and improve skills and WEM panel discussions with some of the country’s leading paediatric specialists including specific paediatric case scenarios.

How do you adapt care for a pre-hospital environment?
Decision making in any medical situation can be a challenge, add to that a high stress situation and a paediatric trauma patient and you as the health professional needs to be confident in providing the gold standard of critical care we all aspire to. Within a pre-hospital environment we will teach you how to follow and adapt the ceiling of care principle, where the aim is to provide continuity of care and ensure good communication is prevalent throughout.

Do you cover pain management for children?
Yes, this topic is covered extensively on the first day of the course within a workshop and also as part of slow time simulation reflective of a paediatric fall from height scenario. It’s important to understand the unique and challenging problems a paediatric trauma patient can present with and how best to assess and proficiently manage the patient, to achieve the optimum outcome.

How do you achieve paediatric splintage?
There are various adaptions taught within the course and all will be dependent on the patients’ trauma, range of movement and environment. We will discuss in great detail and focus your skills through hands on practical experience.

Which airway techniques are preferable?
Airway control is a critical skill for any pre-hospital healthcare provider and as such we advocate various airway techniques which will depend on the environment your find yourself in. Techniques will be taught through a combination of taught lectures, workshops, simulation and plenary discussions and will include supplementary additions to both intubating through a supraglottic airway (SGA) and Endotracheal intubation (ETI).

Do you teach around assessment tools in Paediatrics?
Yes, these are essential to form a general impression of our patient and will be used to assess and determine the treatment given. We will teach and discuss the Paediatric Assessment Triangle (PAT) that consists of three areas of assessment: Appearance; Work of Breathing; and Circulation to Skin with adjunctive TICLS – pronounced ‘tickles’ – that looks at muscle tone, irritability, consolability, look (gaze) and speech.

If you want to feel more confident in treating sick children together with how to proficiently manage traumatic and medic paediatric cardiac arrests, then this is the course for you!

To find out more information about our Paediatric Trauma and Acute Care course or to book your place on what we promise will be an incredibly inspiring 2 days, please click here.

NASA Astronauts to make history with the first all-female spacewalk

This International Women’s Day, we’re shining a light on the females who are showing us that when it comes to your dreams, the sky really isn’t the limit – space is!

Yesterday, NASA announced that the first all-female spacewalk will take place later this month, 35 years after Svetlana Savitskaya became the first woman to carry out a spacewalk back in 1984.


And the future of female space travel and research looks bright. Check out this testimony from Daisy Clark, who attended the ESA’s Space Health Week as part of the International Diploma & MSc in Extreme Medicine…

The ESA Space Health Week was such a fantastic opportunity to learn from an amazing group of people at the forefront of the space industry. We got to visit the DLR and European astronaut centre and learn about some of the research studies that are currently being undertaken.

The week was brilliant and was broken down into a great mix of lectures and hands-on practicals, plus discussions with a flight surgeon and an astronaut – how many people can say they have done that!?

 We were lucky enough to see a live feed of the current astronauts in microgravity during our tour of the European astronaut centre and even heard some dialogue between the crew and ground teams. The week was truly amazing and was one of the many highlights of the Masters Programme.


Want to know more about how you can be involved with some ‘out of this world’ opportunities? Then make sure to check out our International Diploma and MSc in Extreme Medicine, run in partnership with the University of Exeter Medical School.




Other blogs that may be of interest, include: 

Space Medicine calls! A unique opportunity to be a part of a UTMB residency program

World Extreme Medicine Founder Mark Hannaford awarded the World’s First Honorary Associate Professorship in Extreme Medicine

We are thrilled to announce that our renowned Founding Director and CEO, Mark Hannaford is to be the first person in the world awarded an Honorary Associate Professorship in Extreme Medicine by the University of Exeter.

As a pioneer of programmes of social change and medical innovation, this incredible honour is to be bestowed in recognition of Mark’s international standing in the development of extreme medicine and his significant, ongoing academic contributions to the University of Exeter’s Medical School’s innovative International Diploma & MSc in Extreme Medicine.

The University of Exeter state that ‘the title ‘Honorary Associate Professor’ should be conferred on a person who is academically qualified for the status proposed. The individual must be a leading authority in the subject with an international reputation. The individual will also normally have experience of, and a demonstrated commitment towards fostering excellence in research and/or education.” With over 30 years’ experience working in worldwide extreme environments, Mark Hannaford is widely credited as one of the drivers behind the growing importance of Extreme Medicine both in the UK and globally.

Remarking on his Honorary Professorship, Mark said, “For once in my life I have been left speechless, literally devoid of words. I am deeply honoured to receive this award, which coincides with our recent 18th anniversary celebrations at World Extreme Medicine. This award wonderfully compliments my Fellowship from both the prestigious Royal Geographical Society and the Royal Society of Arts, which were both received for my pioneering work in the field of the promotion of expedition & wilderness medicine in the UK. For someone who is not surgically or medically qualified, I feel humbled and privileged to have received such an honour, and even more so as it’s the first Honorary Professorship in Extreme Medicine in the world. This honour serves to recognise the growing importance of Extreme Medicine and reinforces WEM’s position as a global leader.”

Mark’s main contributions include fundamentally changing the provision of medical care on expeditions, building the world’s largest online community of medics working in remote areas, the world’s largest subject conference and the development and implementation of the world’s first MSc programme in Extreme Medicine with the University of Exeter Medical School through World Extreme Medicine (WEM), the world’s leading provider of specialist training courses for medics taking their skills into challenging environments. Mark has also helped to facilitate the raising of over £103 million for charity.

As Founding Director of WEM and now the established World Extreme Medicine global Conference, Mark has created a unique platform for inspiring medical minds to meet, share experiences and promote cross-disciplinary working. The #WEM19 Conference stimulates new thinking, extends professional relationships and shares new and more effective approaches to medical practice in challenging environments.

5 reasons how our unique trauma courses can enhance your critical care career

Join us on one of our insightful and highly interactive 2 day trauma courses that will teach you the fundamental skills needed to asses and stablise the most difficult of trauma patient cases while working in an extreme pre-hospital environment. By understanding the medical skills required, following a stepwise approach and providing this gold standard of critical care we aspire to, it will lead to improved patient outcomes and survival, quite literally meaning the difference between life and death.

For aspiring critical care and paediatric trauma specialists our Paediatric Trauma and Pre-Hospital Trauma courses provide the perfect introduction and taster to enhance your study and further your career.

The Paediatric Trauma and Acute Care course – often presenting in a high stress situation, these patients present unique and challenging problems for those first to the scene. If you want to feel more confident in treating sick children together with how to proficiently manage traumatic and medic paediatric cardiac arrests then this is the course for you.

Pre-Hospital Trauma Care course – exploring the pathophysiology, primary injuries and secondary injuries involved in trauma, this course will also teach the management of such injuries to minimise sequelae from secondary traumatic injuries and also identify sensitive and specific tools and signs of injury to help identify time critical cases.

5 excellent reasons to attend our Paediatric Trauma or Pre-Hospital Trauma courses:

  • Learn how to optimise patient care and survival – our trauma workshops are designed to produce a more resilient, effective and efficient approach in treating critically injured patients (both paediatrics and adults) in what will often be extreme and difficult circumstances due to the patient’s trauma, but also regarding the environment you may find yourself in.
  • Further your career – perfect for nurses, doctors and paramedics wanting to pursue and specialise in trauma care both in and out of the hospital, our trauma courses act as a great introduction to trauma and pre-hospital care. They are a great bridger course, especially for those aspiring to apply for air ambulance positions.
  • Dynamic and hands on experience – our highly qualified and well-equipped practitioners will deliver content through dynamic medical and trauma simulations, lectures, workshops and group discussions. You’ll learn clinical skills and field proven techniques that will ensure you leave the course feeling more confident in your ability to perform in a highly stressful situation.
  • Expert team – our expert trauma faculty led by Eoin Walker, Pre-Hospital Mass Causality Incident Management Paramedic and HEMS paramedic will be drawing on their own personal and extensive experience (many with 15 years plus) of attending and practicing pre-hospital and paediatric trauma medicine and sharing their knowledge and skills used on a daily basis to provide a fully-immersive experience of how to optimise the care and survival of the patient
  • Earn CPD credits – for those attending either our Paediatric Trauma or Pre-Hospital Trauma course, accreditation will be offered (we estimate 12 hours of CPD) through the Royal College of Surgeons of Edinburgh. Our trauma courses provide the perfect opportunity to increase your pre-hospital medicine skill set enabling you to become a more effective practitioner.

Join us and experience our The Paediatric Trauma and Acute Care course and Pre-Hospital Trauma Care course for yourself. Be part of something amazing and take your extreme medicine career to the next level. 
Book your place today!


Other blogs that may be of interest, include:

Space Medicine calls! A unique opportunity to be part of a UTMB residency program*

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Space calls!  Join a world-class Aerospace Medicine Residency Program for an out-of-this-world introductory course in Aviation and Space medicine in Houston*

Apply now for the 2019 opportunity

*ONLY open to physicians students enrolled on our International Diploma and MSc program at the University of Exeter Medical School.

(Not enrolled on our Diploma and MSc program? Don’t fret – WEM and UTMB are collaborating to provide more opportunities for 2020, so keep your eyes peeled for more information).

A once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to join the University of Texas in Houston, Exeter University Medical School and World Extreme Medicine for a month of immersive learning with unparalleled access to Johnson Space Centre.

WEM has negotiated a limited number of places on the renown month-long ‘Principles of Space and Aviation Medicine’ course run by UTMB; a fantastic opportunity for anyone interested in the now GMC recognised speciality of Space Medicine

What more could you ask for?  With unprecedented access to NASA’s Johnston Space Centre this opportunity enables a fully-immersed experience that will not only take you to Houston for a month but within the beating heart of space medicine; personally experience astronaut testing programmes, hypo- & hyperbaric chambers, in-flight countermeasures and the neutral buoyancy lab. Networking opportunities are included and will, of course, be out of this world.

The course is a month of intensive learning with several away days.

What we would expect of you:  Mainly, to enjoy it! But we’d also need you to take notes and update us on the breakthroughs in space medicine (you’ll know before we do!). We’d also like you to take plenty of pictures, send some tweets and write a couple of reports on your return tagging both WEM and UEMS. If we’ve inspired you to pursue space medicine, then there’ll be plenty of opportunities with us in the coming years too.

Dates:  From 24 June – 19 July.  You are required to attend the full duration of the course.

Cost:   The course costs $500 – $1500.

You will also have to add on accommodation for a month and flights to Houston but the PASM team will help you by introducing to other courses members so you can share accommodation, lifts etc

In the meantime, you may want to consider applying for a number of scholarships that are available in this subject area.

How to apply:

Please contact us at World Extreme Medicine for an application form. Please mention you are enrolled on the Exeter Extreme Medicine program.

The deadline for application is 19 April 2019

Captain Lou Rudd MBE of recent Antarctic fame joins our 2019 WEMski guest speaker line up

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An inspiration to us all, we are delighted to have Captain Lou Rudd join us for this years’ WEMski mini-conference fresh from his epic expedition of crossing Antarctica solo in an unsupported and unassisted gruelling 920-mile journey lasting 56 days – a remarkable achievement!

With a career in the British Army, and as a qualified military ski instructor and Arctic warfare instructor, Lou is no stranger to extreme cold weather environments, but it would take an extraordinary amount of determination, mental and physical willpower to take on and complete such a dangerous expedition. No less so, because this expedition was personal, Lou was undertaking this expedition in memory of his close friend and explorer Henry Worsley, who died attempting an unassisted solo trip just 30 miles short of completing the record solo crossing in 2016.

Stretched to the limits and showing a mental resilience one can only imagine in one of nature’s most inhospitable environments, Lou pushed the boundaries of human endurance hauling a 140kg sled through wind gusts of up to 60 miles per hour and freezing temperatures below minus-40 degrees – all conditions he had trained for in the months prior, but still none the less brutal. It was the mental aspect that was a little harder to prepare for, so to alleviate the long weeks of solitude and to have a human voice in his head, Lou took comfort in listening to audio books including Winston Churchill and other biographies as well as listening to a 1980’s music playlist with the likes of Bono and Bruce Springsteen.

Mental health and the ability to deal with working in stressful environments is one of the main themes and discussions taking place throughout our week at WEMski and they don’t come more extreme than a solo trek across Antarctica. We can’t wait to hear Lou share his unique experiences with the delegates at WEMski where he’ll inspire and provide a unique insight into the clinical psychology of leadership, teamwork and the coping mechanisms he’s used when in extreme situations. It is these skills that medical professionals can then transfer to their everyday working life be they in the hospital environment or on an expedition.

Experience WEMski for yourself and be part of something amazing, book your place today!

Other blogs that may be of interest, include:

Jungle Medicine Training Course – Dr Alex Rowe reports..

Jungle Medicine Training Course in Costa Rica…

Pristine rain forest and verdant jungles are a huge attraction as travel locations. Recently I was lucky enough to travel to Costa Rica to instruct on the World Extreme Medicine Jungle Medicine Training Course* course where we spent seven days trekking and living in the jungle along the Pacuare River. There are many hazards that we need to anticipate when travelling in these areas, including sourcing safe water and avoiding local dangerous wildlife. One hazard that is ever present is insects-they are everywhere and determined to get their fill of humans. These insects don’t just cause bites, they can also transmit diseases such as malaria, dengue fever and tick-borne encephalitis. The density of insects is incredible and is something that is obvious every time you turn on your head torch at night. So how do we discourage all these flying and crawling critters from enjoying Michelin starred human dining?

Bite avoidance is key and there are several areas to consider. The first is clothing. It is very tempting to wear shorts and a T-shirt given the heat, however, this is the first mistake many people make. Ensure you have lightweight, light coloured, quick-drying long-sleeved shirts and long trousers. Even better is to source clothing that is impregnated with the insect repellent Permethrin. Once you wearing your long clothing, button up the cuffs and tuck your trousers into your socks or wear gaiters. I made the mistake of not closing off the bottom of my trouser legs one day, and only realised the consequences when I felt dozens of painful biting pinpricks on the backs of my legs from the ants that had climbed onto my boots and made their way upwards.

Second is a good mosquito net– I never travel to tropical areas without one and the security if brings you when you are trying to sleep, knowing you don’t have to do the naked run to find the whining mosquito that is after my blood. This also applies to hammocks- ideally, if you are sleeping in a hammock, use one with a built-in mosquito net. There is nothing nicer than getting into a hammock knowing you have an impregnable mosquito net, and you can go to sleep safe in the knowledge that despite all the noise, they cannot get to you.

Thirdly is insect repellent. I am an insect attractant and use as many methods as possible to avoid getting bitten, however, some people appear to have good results from citronella sprays and wrist bands. It may be they are just not as tasty to the critters! The gold standard repellent is DEET, and this comes in varying concentrations up to 100% Max Strength Kill Anything Jungle Juice. People vary in their tolerance to DEET, and it is worth experimenting with different strengths to see what your skin will accept. It is worth spraying clothing as well as any bare skin, concentrating on the gaps at wrists, ankles and neck. Other repellents to consider are permethrin and picaridin based, and it is thought these may be better for repelling ticks.

If you do get bitten, you can take a regular dose of a pharmacy over the counter antihistamine tablet. These reduce itching and inflammation, as well as being useful to take regularly if you are in an insect-laden area and want to avoid strong bite reactions.

Get out there and enjoy these incredible places, and stay comfortable in the knowledge you have done everything to avoid those irritating and sometimes harmful bites and maybe join World Extreme Medicine on their famous Jungle Medicine Training Course in Costa Rica!

Dr Alexander Rowe
World Extreme Medicine Conference Speaker

* First published on Lifesystems website
*Jungle Medicine forms a module on the International Diploma/ MSc in Extreme Medicine offered by Exeter University Medical School
*CPD provided by the Royal College of Surgeons (Edinburgh)

Further resources:

Jungle Medicine Training Course in Costa Rica an exciting and comprehensive course for all those medical professionals responsible for clients, patients or team members in a tropical or jungle environment.

Further reading:

Adventure is good for your medical career…

5 excellent reasons to attend our amazing ‘One Medicine’ Conservation Medicine Course

Working with the world-renowned N/a’an ku sê Foundation, we’ve designed a Conservation Medicine course unlike anything else in this area of extreme medicine, a ‘One Medicine’ course. If you’re keen to take your medical skills into conservation projects, nature reserves, remote communities or simply have a passion for conservation, this course is for you!

Open to both medical and animal health professionals you will explore the amazing work of conservation projects and what is required to take your medical skills into the wild. This amazing gathering will allow you to learn from the best, plus you will have the opportunity to network and meet like-minded people from around the world.

One Medicine is a movement to create networks and collaborations between human medicine and veterinary medicine.

5 excellent reasons to attend the Conservation Medicine Course:

World-renowned team – a highly specialised group of experts including Dr Rudie van Vuuren (physician and conservationist), Marlice van Vuuren (conservationist), resident vets and the N/a’an ku sê Foundation’s medical team will be sharing their experiences and delivering an unrivalled syllabus of content.

Topics – during the course you’ll explore conservation medicine, African zoonosis, venomous animals, wildlife immobilisation (theory and practical), anti-poaching, survival in the bush, life in remote clinics, rural outreach and infectious diseases.

Hands on experience – there will be practical workshops on field-proven techniques to inspire and enhance your skills; helping you to become a more effective and highly valued practitioner of remote conservation medicine. You will also visit Epikuro, a remote settlement which is home to the Foundation’s Lifeline Clinic seeing first-hand how this medical facility is serving the wider community.

Further your career – enhance your knowledge and increase your skillset to ensure you are in the best position possible to further your medical career and become a more effective and highly valued practitioner.

One of a kind course – newly relaunched this Conservation Medicine course is one like no other. Using the emerging interdisciplinary field of conservation medicine this unique course serves to address the gaps with Zoonoses; infectious diseases of animals (usually vertebrates) that can naturally be transmitted to humans through both academic and practical sessions.

Experience our Conservation Medicine, a One Medicine, course in 2020 and take your extreme medicine career to the next level.
Book your place today!


Other blogs that may be of interest, include:

Desert Medicine: kick start your career as an extreme medic in the Sharqiya Sands, Oman

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Sign up to our Desert Medicine course and you’ll find yourself on a journey of discovery and learning in how to become an extreme medic in one of the most beautiful settings on earth. The stunning Sharqiya Sands in Oman play host to our Desert Medicine course providing the perfect desert environment; rolling sand dunes, spectacular mountains and only Arabian nomads and camels for company.

As with all the World Extreme Medicine courses, our aim is to provide a practical training course that endeavours to make those attending more comfortable using the medical skills they already have in an austere environment. Quite often in such extreme conditions, the environment can become a distraction and the focus taken away from the casualty and their needs. By offering practical learning in a specific environment and providing the skills needed to survive, course attendees will become better at diagnosing and practising their medicine, which in turn will lead to better patient care.

The Desert Medicine course aims to enable attendees to:

  • Be better equipped and confident in providing the right assessment and treatment in a desert environment.
  • Acquire and develop extreme medicine skills that can be used in any austere environment as well as specific skills applicable to desert medicine.
  • Enhance knowledge and skills relating to understanding, diagnosing and treating endemic illnesses, trauma plus specific desert and heat-related illnesses when presented.
  • Understand and develop the non-technical expedition skills required in a desert environment such as pre-expedition planning, communication, navigation and trekking, plus evacuation and rescue scenarios.

What will I learn on the Desert Medicine course?
Our Desert Medicine course is a great example of an amazing training programme on the ground in one of the most inhospitable places in the world. This course runs more like an expedition; so real-life experience learning about core and desert specific field skills such as public health, navigation and casualty evacuation chain, interspersed with specific medical training. Plus, the best part of the course, actually getting out into the desert and sleeping under the stars – a magical experience not to be missed!

As part of the medical training on our Desert Medicine course, you will be looking at managing the endemic diseases often seen in the desert. You’ll be learning and talking a lot about the heat and acclimatisation, how to manage heat illness, as well as dealing with potential traumas associated with the sort of vehicles used in our journey.

Who should attend this course?
This specialised course is open to any qualified medical professional wanting to expand their knowledge and skill set in Desert Medicine; with a particular focus on heat-related illnesses and endemic diseases. The course offers a unique learning opportunity whether you are looking for a once-in-a-lifetime experience in a beautiful location or need to learn new skills for your job. It’s perfect for potential and existing expedition medics looking to take their medical skills into the extreme, physicians who want a higher level of understanding or anyone wanting to work in an austere environment, as a lot of the core field skills learnt can be transferred across the various environments.

The medics who would benefit the most and are those that will actually find themselves working in the desert or in a hot environment. The majority of attendees from last year’s course were medics who were going to be working in a desert environment and from their feedback, they found the course really beneficial.

Where else in the world could you receive such hands-on experience, be part of a unique learning experience and have an adventure of a lifetime. To find out more and to experience our Desert Medicine course for yourself, please click here.

Take your medical career to the next level – book your place today!


Other blogs that may be of interest, include:

Meet the team behind our Desert Medicine course in Oman

We’ve brought together a fantastic team of individuals for our unforgettable Desert Medicine course which runs annually in Oman; all with an amazing wealth of experience across the world’s deserts. They will be sharing their extensive knowledge and skills to give you a comprehensive understanding of how to lead and provide medical cover on desert expeditions.

Meet this highly specialised team who will be delivering an unrivalled syllabus of content:

Eoin Walker, Trauma Lead for World Extreme Medicine and a Pre-Hospital Mass Casualty Incident Management Paramedic

Eoin WalkerEoin has been a Paramedic for 13 years and has worked for London’s Air Ambulance for 8 years treating critically ill patients as a Flight Paramedic.
He has worked for Extreme Medicine for 5 years both domestically and internationally teaching on pre-hospital trauma and expedition skills and is the WEM trauma lead and an honorary lecturer with the University of Exeter medical school.

He has undertaken various global expeditions as an expedition medic including 10 years throughout Central America, as well as working for the World Health Organisation as a consultant within pre-hospital care. Eoin also works as part of the Mobile Emergency Response Incident Team (MERIT). After responding to the 7/7 bombings in London he works internationally teaching Pre-Hospital Mass Causality Incident Management.

He has progressed through his BSc and MSc in Critical Care and works for UKmed on behalf of WHO. Eoin is currently working as an Advanced Paramedic Practitioner for London Ambulance Service in East London.

Alex Bamford, Military Doctor (Royal Marines)

Originally trained as a physiotherapist, Alex went on to study medicine and is now a doctor in the Royal Navy, spending the last few years serving as a Royal Marine Clinician. Having developed a taste for endurance sport, including running through the Amazon for Men’s Fitness Magazine as part of their ultra-marathon team, Alex is no stranger to challenging environments and extreme medicine.

It was during an ultra-marathon through the Namib desert when he developed rhabdomyolysis, the breakdown of damaged skeletal muscle, that Alex first became curious about the field of wilderness and extreme medicine and has since led him to become involved in the medical support of events in the UK and abroad.

Alex joins our team having completed the 2017 British Trans-Americas Expedition, a six-man military expedition that rode from Ushuaia, Argentina to Prudhoe Bay in Alaska on CCM GP450s. As the medical officer on this incredible 20,000-mile motorcycle record attempt, Alex was responsible for the planning and execution of the medical component of this expedition. From managing a whole team with altitude sickness in the remote Bolivian Andes to being hit by a car in the murder capital of the world, the trip was certainly eventful and put his wilderness medical skills to the test. Over our 6-day course, Alex will share his experiences and lessons learnt from planning and executing remote overland travel.

Luca Alfatti, Paramedic, Expedition Leader and Remote Medic, World Extreme Medicine Faculty Member 

Luca Alfatti

Luca is a HCPC registered Paramedic, who currently holds a Diploma in Paramedic Practice and is hoping to complete his BSc by the end of 2017. When in the UK, which admittedly it is not often, Luca works as a Paramedic in the North West and South West of England.

In addition to this he is a Fellow of the Royal Geographical Society, Wilderness Expedition Medicine Faculty Member, PHTLS instructor, Mountain Leader and Water Rescue Technician. Luca is also a HEFAT instructor, delivering hostile environment training to journalists both in the UK, before deployment and in country, during deployment.

Luca also works as a volunteer and fundraiser with Team Rubicon, which is a disaster response humanitarian organisation working both in the UK and overseas. Luca’s work has featured in magazines like ‘Trek and Mountains’ and ‘Adventure Travel’. His world first crossing of the Dash e Lut Desert, in Iran, in 2015 was featured in the National Geographic Traveller. Luca has also written a publication for ‘Paramedic Insight’ narrating his experience as an expedition medic, for an unsupported winter snow shoe crossing of Spitzbergen.

Luca does not only lead all his trips, but has often designed the trips himself and acts as either expedition leader/medic or both.

Mohammed Al-Zadjali, Outward Bound Oman Deputy General Manager

Mohammed Al-ZadjaliMohammed and his team at Outward Bound Oman will be running the logistical elements of our Desert Medicine course.

Having spent much of his time instructing and leading groups of people on challenging journeys across the desert, Mohammed knows the stunning Sharqiya Sands like the back of his hand and will be using his skills to lead the group across the immense sand dunes on a linear path leading them back to base camp.

Mohammed was also part of the amazing expedition team (alongside Sean Hudson and Mark Evans) who recreated the 1930 journey led by British explorer Bertram Thomas. The 2015 ‘Crossing the Empty Quarter’ expedition traced the route taken by Bertram and his team, a journey of 1,300 kilometres, across the biggest sand desert on earth. In keeping with the original expedition this challenging journey was conducted solely by foot and camel train; negotiating sandstorms, unforgivable desert landscapes and combatting the scorching heat.

Mark Evans MBE, Executive Director of Outward Bound Oman

Mark Evans, MBEWith twenty-two years spent living and travelling extensively across Arabia, Mark brings an incredible knowledge of exploration and an unrivalled knowledge of the area, particularly in Oman. It was his entrepreneurial spirit and passion for exploration and education that led him to set up Outward Bound Oman in 2009, our base for this Desert Medicine course.

His incredible achievements include completing an 80-day camel expedition, a 49-day crossing of the Rub Al Khali, a 55-day 1,700 km solo kayak journey along the entire coastline of Oman from Musandam to Yemen, and extensive remote 4×4 journeys throughout Saudi Arabia and Oman.

In 2011 Mark was awarded the MBE for his work using expeditions to promote intercultural understanding between young people from western and Arab cultures. Mark is a fellow of the Explorers Club of New York, and The Royal Geographical Society in London and in 2018 was made an Honorary Fellow of The Royal Scottish Geographical Society.


Join us in December 2020; learn with this incredibly experienced and knowledgeable team, and be part of something amazing. Book your place today!


Other blogs that may be of interest, include:

Fiji dream comes for medical student true courtesy of World Extreme Medicine

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Medical Student Leaves on a high – a WEM elective in Fiji!

Being the very last thing at the end of 6 years of being a medical student in Scotland – my medical elective has seemed like a distant dream away for a long time. I can now safely say that it finally happened and I really did live that dream!

Dr Millie Wood Remote Medicine in Fiji
Dr Millie Wood Remote Medicine in Fiji

As a member of the Edinburgh University Wilderness Medical Society, I was very fortunate to be contacted by Mark Hannaford to help at World Extreme Medicine (WEM) International Conference in 2016. This was a great experience in every way and completely opened my eyes to the endless opportunities combining medicine and the love of the outdoors. After getting over the sheer number of inspiring medics in one building and the initial awe of their experiences I realised I needed to start my journey in this field as soon as I could! It was here that I met Simon Mayer from WEM and discovered his work in Fiji with Dr Joe Rowles – 2 years later I joined their medical team out there. An experience I will certainly never forget and am extremely grateful to WEM for facilitating it.

The WEM medical team head out to Fiji on a remote island 2 hours from the mainland for 6 months of the year. It is here that they provide medical care to local residents and staff via a temporary clinic set up in a children’s nursery (see photo). The clinic is open daily but should medical care be required further afield the team have the equipment and resources to deliver pre-hospital care and medevac if necessary. Medical school is obviously vital but learning to be a doctor and deliver care in a pre-hospital setting can’t be taught in a lecture. Seeing firsthand how the team worked efficiently to deliver care in more challenging environments, such as renal colic in a boat on choppy waters, was invaluable.

WEM Medical Clinic proving location medical support
WEM clinic in Fiji

I honestly did not think I could use my brain post finals but was so inspired by this totally new aspect of medicine that I got the learning bug again! The medical team out here is made up of 3 doctors, 2 nurse practitioners and 3 paramedics. Having a medical student out there was a novel experience for us all but I couldn’t have felt more welcome. Alongside the team, Fiji itself must be one of the friendliest countries I have visited so any apprehensions of going to a new environment by myself quickly diminished.

WEM Medical out-reachEach member of the medical staff are extremely skilled and each have their own individual experience within conflict, expedition or pre-hospital care to bring to the team. Just being able to listen to their professional experiences was inspiring and fuelled my desire to start planning how I could one day get involved in this world. There is a vast array of additional courses and post graduate diplomas available for expedition medicine which can be over whelming when starting out in this field. Getting the opportunity to listen to recommendations from others was extremely valuable and as a result was I inspired to apply for a post-graduate diploma which I will start in January. Hopefully, this course will be an escape once a month from the inevitable relentless shifts starting out as a foundation doctor!

As well as sharing on potential future experiences, the team out here were fantastic in taking any opportunity to teach me about the medical equipment required in such environments. It was such an invaluable chance to be demonstrated and practice using the kit taken out on expeditions and I am grateful for getting to do this at such an early stage on my medical journey.

The “clinic” opened daily from 7am-6pm. During these hours there was a great variation of primary care and tropical medical presentations. I was able to see my own patients and discuss with others on the best forward plan. These consultations usually came with a language barrier which made communication skills even more important to avoid potentially crucial misunderstandings. Wherever you practice medicine, communication is vital and should not be overlooked. This experience in Fiji reminded me just how important it is to try and gain a comprehensive history even with language difficulties to ensure anything important is not overlooked – a skill I will definitely take with me beginning my foundation years.

This elective made me realise how working in remote environments makes you a very adaptable and skilful medical professional. Seeing how the medics coped with the resources they had and come up with sometimes novel solutions to get around potential difficulties was impressive. As well as core medical knowledge on a wide range of presentations, it was great to gain knowledge and tips that I hope to one day use when working in pre-hospital care myself one day.

Medical Teaching in Fiji
WEM out-reach medical training with Dr Millie Wood.

As well as the clinic I was given a fantastic opportunity to take part in public health teaching. After expressing my interest in childhood obesity, and the declining physical activity levels amongst children, Simon initiated a project and linked me up with the local primary school. Fiji has soaring levels of childhood obesity and as a result high rates of adult diabetes. Using international and national guidelines I created leaflets and obtained posters suitable for 5-13 year olds. I felt very welcomed by the teachers at the school and gave an interactive assembly to all 54 children. It was a fun session discussing healthy living, diet and exercise. I gave out the learning resources for them to teach to family and friends. I realise that the childhood obesity epidemic can’t be combated in one short session but it was great to instil a positive way of thinking and I hope that the teachers continue to build upon this.

During any downtime we were all as active as each other.  I was relieved to be surrounded by others that also can’t just sit down so multiple water-sports, tennis and “medfit” sessions were undertaken!   This was my first experience out in Fiji and it couldn’t have been better. Being amongst so many like-minded individuals and having my first insight to pre-hospital medicine has been totally inspiring and proved this is exactly what I want to pursue. Hopefully, this is the start of my journey in this field and I’m extremely grateful to WEM and all of the fantastic team out in Fiji for kick-starting this!

World Extreme Medicine provides location medicine support, remote medical services, the most extensive range of remote medical training courses for medical professionals and organise the annual World Extreme Medicine Conference; the world’s largest gathering of extreme medics

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5 fantastic reasons to attend our extraordinary Desert Medicine Course

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Join World Extreme Medicine for an unforgettable 6-day Desert Medicine course in the stunning Sharqiya Sands, Oman; where you’ll focus on learning the medical and survival skills required to lead and provide medical cover on desert expeditions. If you’re keen to take your medical skills into an extreme environment such as the desert, this course is for you!

Using the recently opened Outward Bound Oman Desert Centre as your base, the WEM faculty team who bring an incredible wealth of exploration knowledge and working in desert environments to the course, will take you on a two-part expedition through the Sharqiya Sands. It’s here you’ll learn to work with the environment, overcome the obstacles of the desert and increase your knowledge and skill set regarding Desert Medicine.

This specialised course is open to all health professionals and is ideal for potential and existing expedition medics looking to take their medical skills into the extreme. This amazing gathering will allow you to learn from the best, plus you will have the opportunity to network and meet like-minded people from around the world.

5 excellent reasons to attend the Desert Medicine Course:

  • Expert team – our expert Desert Medicine team will be drawing from their own personal extensive experience across the world’s deserts and sharing their knowledge and skills, giving you a comprehensive understanding of how to lead and provide medical cover on desert expeditions.
  • Hands on experience – throughout your week with us you’ll learn clinical skills and field proven techniques that will ensure you leave the course feeling confident in your ability to lead and keep your expedition team healthy in a desert environment.
  • Earn CPD credits and further your career – enhance your knowledge and increase your skill set to ensure you are in the best position possible to further your medical career and become a more effective and highly valued practitioner. For those attending and completing the course, accreditation will be offered (we estimate 30 hours of CPD) through the Royal College of Surgeons of Edinburgh.
  • Desert Medicine topics explained – during the course you’ll explore many topics including standard operating procedures for a desert environment, pre-expedition planning, basic navigation and communication in the desert, burn management, heat-related illness and hydration, how to manage snake, scorpion and spider envenomation’s and managing fractures and dislocations in the wilderness.
  • Unique desert location – offering exceptional wilderness conditions of the like you’ll not witness anywhere else in the world; with towering sand dunes reaching 100m in places, spectacular mountains that reach up to 10,000 feet into the sky and a desert that extends over an area of up to 10,000 square kilometres.

Our Desert Medicine course also comes highly recommended from past course attendees:

“I took the course in 2017. It was an excellent adventure and a real learning lesson. The Oman sites were beautiful, and everyone was professional. I have been to a few events like this, but you can tell the staff and guides were also having a great time. A blend of wilderness medicine, along with the much needed “this is what really works, I know I tried it” knowledge. I would recommend to anyone wanting to explore and learn outside the box.”

Jeremy, 2017 Desert Medicine course attendee


Join us in December 2020 and experience our Desert Medicine course for yourself. Be part of something amazing and take your extreme medicine career to the next level. Book your place today!


Other blogs that may be of interest, include:

Prof. Chris Imray on life, mental health and leadership

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Mental Health and Leadership within a clinical career..

Everest summiteer Prof. Chris Imray talks candidly about mental health, team leadership and leaving a legacy.

Following a career as a medical professional by definition will come with a mental health pressure working in stressful environments where your decisions will have impacts – at times, big ones!

It’s a pressure that will follow you throughout your career from the obvious stress of being new to your job transitioning into more senior leadership roles and an awareness of the mental health impact on you personally, but also your wider team can have significant consequences.

As a senior NHS leader cardio-vascular surgeon Professor Chris Imray shares his experience and view of clinical leadership whilst presenting at the annual WEMSki conference in Italy highlighting how his ‘other life’, expedition leadership and climbing, has enabled him to strike a work/life balance.

WEMski Medicine Conference, Italian Alps

Join World Extreme Medicine in the Italian Alps for a week focusing on the important topic of Mental Wellness and Leadership for medics and clinicians.*

‘In order to get well you need to have a friend and insight’.

A great summary from Emma, Paramedic, about lessons learnt at the WEMSki Conference.

A few years ago, World Extreme Medicine (WEM) asked itself the question ‘who takes care of the carers?’  when it came to mental health awareness and medical professionals working in ‘extremes’; in war zones, as expedition medics, paramedics, as an isolated and overwhelmed GP, or as a nurse in a busy Emergency Department.

We then asked ourselves the question what can WEM do to help?’ and we came up with our answer: WEMSki.

WEMski is a week of learning focused on mental health awareness on both a personal and team level.

Further resource:  Expedition Medicine is good for your clinical career!

Desert Medicine Course: Why Sharqiya Sands in Oman provides the perfect desert classroom

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Oman is the perfect home for our World Extreme Medicine Desert Medicine Course. It offers exceptional wilderness conditions of the like you’ll not witness anywhere else in the world; with towering sand dunes reaching 100m in places, spectacular mountains that reach up to 10,000 feet into the sky and a desert that extends over an area of up to 10,000 square kilometres.

Over one-week the WEM faculty team led by Dr Sean Hudson MBE who has been exploring and working in desert environments throughout his career and was awarded an MBE for services to ‘Providing Medical Aid and Education’, will take you on a two-part expedition on foot, supported by vehicles and camels through Sharqiya Sands, your home for the duration of the course and where you will learn to overcome the obstacles of the desert, increase your knowledge and skill set regarding hot weather medicine and work with the environment to make the most of your desert expedition.

Here are just a few of the reasons that make Sharqiya Sands the perfect desert medicine classroom:

  • The location
    Sitting on the edge of the largest sand desert on the planet known as the ‘Empty Quarter; the hottest, driest, most inhospitable place on earth, lies Sharqiya Sands. A remote yet inspirational vast wilderness covering 12,500 square kilometres that provides the perfect environment to explore the desert and learn desert medical and survival skills amongst the stillness of the dunes.
  • Accessibility
    Although remote, today you can reach Sharqiya Sands in less than two hour’s drive from the capital city of Muscat, on a modern, three-lane highway. Despite the new road, once you are in the sands, they remain one of those unique, increasingly scarce, silent places where mobile phones don’t work, and where there is little evidence of human activity beyond the local Bedouin community.
  • Unique desert conditions
    As you will discover when on the course, Sharqiya Sands is a ‘living’ desert offering unparalleled conditions perfect for challenging expeditions. Due to its unique location bordering the coastline, the nearby sea regularly results in a heavy dew and thick fog that provides 1mm of rainfall a day delivering life-giving moisture to the arid desert but can also mean you wake up with a wet sleeping bag! This thick fog can make navigation a challenge, especially first thing in the morning, so basic navigation skills are an essential part of your learning on this course.
  • State of the art training facility
    Authorised by His Majesty Sultan Qaboos Al Said, ruler of Oman, the Outward Bound Oman Desert Centre is a spectacular purpose-built centre for outdoor learning, the first of its kind in Oman. Officially opened in October 2017 it provides an ideal base located amongst the dunes of the Sharqiya Sands from which to start and end your Desert Medicine learning experience.
  • Sharqiya Sands is the most intensely studied desert ever
    The Royal Geographical Society ran the first integrated geographical survey of one of the greatest sand sea deserts in the world, the ‘Oman Wahiba Sands Project’ between 1984 – 1987 with their top scientists analysing this unique desert environment. The survey showed the area has a unique range of mobile, stable and cemented sands (aeolianite) and a diverse flora and fauna with over 16,000 invertebrate species and 130 flora species in this environment of unique importance.
  • A warm welcome and great hospitality
    It’s well known across the lands of the Empty Quarter of the Arabian Peninsula that the Sultanate of Oman is one of the most hospitable countries in the world. The Omani people are known for their legendary hospitality and an unofficial policy of “everyone is my friend, no-one is my enemy” means you will be met with a warm welcome and a friendly face.

To find out more about our Desert Medicine course, please click here. Take your medical career to the next level – book your place today!


Other blogs that may be of interest, include:
5 fantastic reasons to attend the extraordinary 2018 Desert Medicine Course
Desert Medicine: kick start your career as an extreme medicine
Meet the team behind our Desert Medicine course

Would you have the confidence to assess and treat a high-stress Paediatric Trauma case?

Paediatric trauma and the acutely ill is on the rise within the health service, and with plenty of enthusiastic feedback requesting such a course, our Paediatric Trauma and Acute Care course is back by popular demand following its successful launch in 2018.

Eoin Walker, a London HEMS Paramedic, UKMED Team Member, WEM MSc in Extreme Medicine Faculty and the Paediatric Trauma course leader said:

Paediatric trauma and illness is thankfully so rare that when a case does present itself, there can be a nervousness and anxiety that pre-hospital providers feel when treating these patients. Through my own experience dealing with trauma patients, I truly believe that knowledge breeds confidence, which is why a course such as this new Paediatric Trauma course provides the perfect opportunity to get smart, improve your knowledge and skills and ultimately provide the gold standard of critical care that we aspire to.”

When dealing with our smaller patients, it’s vital to understand a paediatric trauma will need to be handled in a different way, as they will present a different pattern of injury than an adult in trauma, which means the assessment and treatment of the underlying illness will require a different approach that many medical professionals won’t have come up against before. Fortunately, these cases are rare and often unique, but it does beg the question ‘Would you know how to handle and have the confidence to assess, treat and manage such a high-stress situation?

We believe it’s prudent to train for all eventualities, especially when specific knowledge and skills could potentially optimise the outcome and intervention required, which is why this course has been specifically designed for all medical and allied health professionals dealing with paediatric emergency care around the world and for those working in challenging and under-resourced conditions.

Mark Hannaford, Managing Director & Founder of World Extreme Medicine (WEM) added:

“As a parent and the founder of WEM, I have been wanting to get this course off-the-ground for quite a while. Our aim, working with the remarkable Eoin Walker and with a number of well-placed partners, is to make this overseas specific so WEM medics working in low-resourced medical systems will be better equipped to deal with paediatric emergencies helping to save lives and improve, one small step at a time, remote healthcare”

This practical 2-day course will provide universal guidelines on how to treat paediatric trauma patients in a pre-hospital environment, practical integrated workshops and enhanced fidelity simulations providing you with the skills to feel more confident in treating sick children plus group discussions to share knowledge and experiences as well as the opportunity to examine best practice around scene management and high stress situations.

The course will also cover areas such as paediatric trauma assessment and airway, remote paediatric care, intraosseous insertion access and pain management, paediatric traumatic cardiac arrest and medical assessment tools which you may be unfamiliar with. There will be panel discussions with paediatric case scenarios and the opportunity to learn non-technical skills & troubleshooting, a necessity when dealing with paediatric trauma cases as they play such a big part in how you treat the injured patient.

The Paediatric Trauma course aims to enable attendees to:

  • Feel better equipped and more confident when presented with a paediatric trauma case, so they feel comfortable providing the right assessment and intervention.
  • Acquire and develop specific skills applicable to paediatric trauma medicine.
  • Enhance knowledge and skills relating to understanding, diagnosing and treating paediatric trauma when presented.
  • Understand and develop the non-technical skills required in paediatric trauma cases such as scene management, listening, handover, leadership and following the correct shared mental health model.

To find out more about our Paediatric Trauma and Acute Care course, please click here. Take your medical career to the next level – book your place today!

Expedition and Wilderness Medicine the roots of WEM; a journey of passion?

Expedition and Wilderness Medicine the roots of WEM; a journey of passion?

Expedition & Wilderness Medicine
SAR Helicopter turns up to assist on the world’s first Expedition and Wilderness Medicine training course for medics

When World Extreme Medicine ran its first course in Patterdale, in the English Lake District, the terms ‘Expedition Medicine’ and  ‘Expedition and Wilderness Medicine’ was rarely used in fact we were the first people to do so when we established our company but it is amazing to see how its use has spread to the point that its has even been borrowed for the title of a book on the topic.

The original course sprang out of internal training courses provided I established for my other company Across the Divide Expeditions for their own medics who wanted to learn specific pre-hospital skills and its gone from there, with the help of mentor Hong Kong based entrepeneur David Weil, to the  world class conference ‘WEM Conference‘, an International Post Graduate Diploma & MSc Extreme Medicine program partnered with a Russel Group University, a raft of world class courses and medical location support for some of the world’s largest film productions.

We decided to rename ourselves ‘World Extreme Medicine’ to better reflect to opportunities open to medics in not only expedition medicine but also disaster & humanitarian medicine, military medicine, aviation medicine, remote pre-hospital care and a host of other specialities..

We, as a team, are so utterly passionate about what we do we count ourselves honoured to have the opportunity to share our passion with an amazing group of delegates, students and course attendees. I count myself incredibly lucky.

  • WEM Courses  Our courses are aimed at doctors, nurses, paramedics and other medical professionals wanting to add more adventure into their careers. At the heart are our Expedition and Wilderness Medicine courses but we no offer a range of environment specific courses as well.
  • WEM Conference   The WEM conference focuses on a number of interrelated medical fields: Pre-Hospital, Disaster & Humanitarian, Expedition, Endurance and Extreme Sport, Space and Extreme Medicine. We work with a range of multi-disciplinary partners and together, we offer a programme of fascinating talks from world-renowned experts in their field – from Arctic explorers to vascular surgeons, remote medics to NASA & ESA personnel. We host practical sessions on field-proven techniques and ‘hacks’ to inspire and enhance your skills, helping you to become a more effective and highly valued practitioner of remote medicine.
  • International PG Dip/MSc in Extreme Medicine. This unique programme is delivered in partnership between the University of Exeter Medical School and World Extreme Medicine, the world’s leading provider of specialist training courses for medics taking their skills into challenging environments.Modular Pathway allowing you to follow your interests • Full Time & Part Time options  •Open to Senior Intercalated Medical Students •Residential and distance learning means that you do not need to resident in Exeter.The course is open to a wide range of medical disciplines and past students have included: •Paramedics •Medics •Nurses •Medical scientists •Allied healthcare •Military medics •Midwives •Physiotherapists Intercalated Medical Students in years 4 & 5

    This is a course that could quite literally change your life, medicine at its best, crossing geographical and professional boundaries.

Expedition Medicine in Nepal
Dr Sean Hudson WEM co-founder, awarded an MBE in 2017 for services for Expedition and Wilderness Medicine, on the Annapurna Circuit, Nepal acting as an Across the Divide medic.


Expedition Medicine in Namibia
WEM Founder Mark Hannaford providing vehicle backup in the Namib-Naukluft Park, Namibia.








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Thai Cave Rescue: What was the impact of being trapped underground?

Thailand Cave Rescue

World Extreme Medicine and expedition medic Dr Alex Rowe  and WEM founder Mark Hannaford explains the impact of being trapped underground and the challenges they would have faced.

What were the main challenges?
When we look back at the challenges faced by these children, with the lack of safe water, and also the lack of food, it can be split it into 2 things. The main risk to their health would have been with the water and risk of infection which would cause diarrhoea and potentially quite serious dehydration. The food aspect wasn’t quite so important, and they should be able to make a full recovery from the lack of food.

What impact could lower oxygen levels in the cave have had?
If the reduction in oxygen is gradual, then actually the human body could adapt to that. If the oxygen levels were reducing they would have got symptoms that are similar to altitude illness, such as headaches, nausea and a reduction in appetite. If there was a more rapid reduction in oxygen concentration they could go on to develop lung complications and brain complications as well, but at present, this doesn’t look to be the case. There would have also been another issue with the gases in there, in particular, the increased levels of carbon dioxide. There would have been a risk that it would gradually build up in the body, and again make you feel nauseous, it would make you flush, it would make you feel hot and eventually, it would probably make you feel drowsy and eventually would cause unconsciousness.

What did the doctors do to help those trapped in the cave?
The longer anyone is trapped, the worse their bodies will become, so their muscles will be wasting, they’ll be getting weaker over time, and the important thing here is to actually make sure they have the right nutrition. So, they will need a good amount of protein and a good amount of carbohydrates; really the usual balanced diet. Ideally, you would want to be using the muscles as much as you can, but the downside of that is if you start using muscles and doing active exercise that then increases the amount of oxygen you need.

How does a long period in the dark affect people?
The main issue with being in the dark is actually total lack of time perception, and also you tend to lose your normal body rhythms as well. So normal circadian rhythms are lost, and your body can’t really cope with that. And then in terms of the eyes as well, interestingly over time, especially in pitch black, the eyes stop being able to respond to light. It makes the eyes incredibly sensitive when people leave any prolonged dark environment. However, that is reversible.

Will their bodies be able to recover?
The physical problems are probably recoverable unless they received any severe injuries during the rescue attempt and even those can be rehabilitated. But, in terms of the physical aspect, that should all be rebuildable with rehabilitation and good diet.

The teammates have now been reunited in the main hospital in Chiang Rai city and are said to be in quarantine for the time being while they are closely monitored, receive vaccinations for rabies and tetanus and build up their strength.

Thongchai Lertwilairattanapong, an inspector for Thailand’s health department, told reporters: “From our assessment, they are in good condition and not stressed. The children were well taken care of in the cave. Most of the boys lost an average of 2 kg in weight during their time trapped in the cave.

What is re-feeding syndrome that WEM referred to?
We were very fortunate to have the input of Karen Allsopp a Specialist ICU Dietitian in Macclesfield

‘You asked at what point the boys’ metabolisms will be now.  If they’ve had very few calories so far, then they’ll still be in the starvation stage – where the body adapts by minimising insulin levels, and running with low blood glucose levels and adjusting renal excretion of electrolytes down to a minimum.

Once calories are introduced – which for hospital patients in the first instance is often as iv dextrose – the levels of insulin rise quite abruptly – especially if the calorie input is high. Blood glucose levels will rise, sometimes to above 8 mmol/L even in non-diabetics. This shift to anabolism, drives movement of potassium, magnesium and phosphate from the blood into the intracellular space. This can result in hypo-kalaemia/magnesaemia/phosphataemia with potentially serious consequences.

The introduction of carbohydrate can also ‘use up’ the last remaining supply in the body of thiamine, tipping the patient over into acute thiamine deficiency. If not treated by administration of thiamine within a few hours, the neurological effects can include permanent nystagmus and permanent loss of short term memory. This Wernicke-Korsakoff syndrome of course is most often seen in the West in patients with alcohol dependency – but can also occur during following starvation during the refeeding phase. A fascinating example is as mentioned, Dr James Scott who was lost in the Himalayas for around 40 days and wrote up his experience in the Annals of Internal Medicine. He started off with a higher BMI than the boy’

Please see many references on the syndrome: e.g…/pdf/2013-7036.pdf &… – see point 1.4.6.

Mark Hannaford Managing Director & Founder of World Extreme Medicine added:
In a world seemingly striven by differences and polarity this rescue was a superb example of international collaboration and teamwork. 

It had us all, from start to finish, on the edge-of-our-seats from the initial finding of the boys by the amazing divers from the British Cave Rescue Council to the final safe extraction but a diverse collection of specialists from the Thai military to an international cohort of special cave divers.

Amongst the celebrations, we set aside a moment to remember the selfless heroism of Saman Gunan a rescue diver who sadly died in the process of the rescue operations.”

You can also see Dr Alex Rowe on Victoria’s Derbyshire’s BBC2 show discussing in more detail what the immediate health concerns would be now the boys have been rescued.

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