Sunday, July 27, 2008

Greetings from the Wilderness Medical Society Meeting

Greetings from Snowmass, Colorado! I’m here in Colorado this week for the Annual Meeting of the Wilderness Medical Society.

Sir William Osler said, “The young doctor should look about early for an avocation, a pastime…No man is really happy or safe without one…botany, beetles or butterflies, roses, tulips, or irises, fishing, mountaineering or antiquities – anything will do so long as he straddles a hobby and rides it hard.”

My passions are traveling, and hiking, and climbing, and now, exploring the mysteries of the ocean. I joined the Wilderness Medical Society in 1987, four years after its inception. This meeting marks the 25th anniversary of the organization and it has grown to be the leading provider of education opportunities in the field.

There are almost 300 people here to celebrate this milestone, to learn about the latest in wilderness medicine, and to catch up with old friends, who also love the outdoors. I admit that, although I attended WMS meetings regularly in the past, I have been unable to attend since my election to the American College of Emergency Physician’s Board in 2003.

The morning session today focused on high altitude illness and hypothermia. The afternoon was a series of small group workshops on such topics as surviving the unexpected night out, pioneering skills, and water treatment for wilderness and international travel.

This evening Luanne Freer, MD, FACEP, FAWM, presented “What’s Your Everest – Combining Your Profession with Your Passion.” Luanne runs EBC (Everest Base Camp) clinic, carrying for injured climbers. Her story was inspirational.

I’ll be here all week learning from the experts, dusting off some old skills, and catching up with old friends. It’s going to be a great birthday!

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