Medicine For Mountaineering

Wilkerson, MD James A.
Year Published: 

" Review

What do you do if you're 25 miles into the backcountry and a member of your hiking party develops appendicitis? Or if you're nearing the summit of a 14,000-foot peak and your climbing partner suffers a ruptured cornea from the altitude? If you thought ahead, you'd pull out your copy of Medicine for Mountaineering. This is probably the top book to carry for serious backcountry injuries. There are other titles that cover basic first aid, but not with this book's depth and specificity.

Ten M.D.s with a fondness for wilderness outings contributed to the chapters, and it shows: medical jargon abounds. But don't be intimidated by words like thrombophlebitis or pneumothorax--you might need to know how to treat blood clots in the legs or a ruptured lung. Most of the injuries covered have their origin in high-altitude mishaps, whether it be kidney infections from dehydration or blunt head trauma from falling rocks. Other ailments like appendicitis and heart disorders are less common, but if they strike in the backcountry, it's vital to know what to do. The range of medical advice stretches all the way to administering intravenous drips and performing tube thoracostomies (inserting a drain valve into a patient's fluid-filled lungs). Though the authors warn that such procedures should be performed by a trained physician, if it's a life-and-death situation miles from any hospital, these instructions could make all the difference. Other topics covered include: soft-tissue injuries, fractures, burns, gastrointestinal disorders, neural disorders, infections, allergies, heat and solar injuries, animal bites and stings, and cold injuries. A list of useful prescription drugs for mountaineering is also valuable.

Library copy is the 3rd edition

Who could benefit from this book? Anyone venturing into the outdoors, but particularly those bound for remote locations who've already mastered basic first aid. Emergency medical technicians will find some of the topics familiar, but even they won't be expert in all the injuries outlined here. At 20 ounces, Medicine for Mountaineering is worth the extra weight in your pack."