Wilderness Medicine

Traffic on Everest

Traffic on Everest

Wilderness Medicine, like Dive Medicine, is not a subcategory of Aerospace Medicine, but it is easy to see their relation as a distantcousins.  Like the local flight doc, the specialist in wilderness medicine requires an understanding of the patient’s setting and how human anatomy and physiology respond to abnormal and austere environments.

Some environments, such as deserts, mountains, and forests may at first glance seem to have nothing in common with conditions faced by the aviator, but no one can deny the similarities between flying in an aircraft at 290 FL and standing on the top of Mt Everest.  Travel is a necessary consequence of aviation, and therefore, the medical provider to aircrew should be well acquainted with a variety of climates. Military flight surgeons are even more prone to deploying and practicing medicine with their units ‘off the grid’ where a firm understanding of wilderness medicine never goes unappreciated.

In summary, like various forms of Aviation Medicine, Wilderness Medicine confronts a normal, healthy human being placed in an abnormal environment. Although the details clearly differ- oxygen deprivation, temperature extremes and health risks associated with life support equipment are just some of the common characteristics shared by all medical disciplines discussed in GoFlightMedicine.