Mountain medicine is unique because of the specific illnesses and problems linked to that environment
However in most situations, it's only a matter of adapting traditional medicine to a mountain context. Indeed with the exception of specific pathologies, the majority of cases to be treated are identical to those encountered at lower altitude or in an urban environment.
Anyone who ventures into inhospitable terrain, on the other side of the world or in our european mountains, risks having to deal with some sort of medical problem. When a health emergency happens in an isolated area, the victim's survival can depend on the quickness and capacity to act of a single person.
Any stranger, practicing his sport in the outdoors or traveling in remote lands can potentially become someone's only chance of survival, the only help around, even if he's not a doctor,paramedic or rescuer and even if the law doesn't compel him to act.
If one day we were to be that person, we may feel terrified or reluctant to get involved, we may bitterly regret our lack of knowledge, but we cannot let a sick or injured person suffer, or die, without having tried anything at all. In some countries this could lead to charges of failing to provide assitance to a person in danger (Duty to Rescue).
Docmmont is aimed at all of you who enjoy traveling off the beaten path, seeking discoveries, adventure and fun in the mountains. It also concerns anyone whose activities can potentially place them in the situation described above.
Whether you're a physician, a mountain or travel professional, or just an amateur, you will find in these pages the information and "recipes" that will help you solve, at least temporarily, difficult medical situations. You will also learn useful tricks to prevent your hike, trek or expedition from turning into a medical nightmare.
When in a hostile environment, medical treatment by a non-professional may be adapted and necessary in some situations:
- Life and death emergency situation,
- Emergency in an isolated area that can't be accessed by a doctor, helicopter or terrestrial medical team within an hour.
- Assistance via telemedicine (the remote medical expert and the correspondant share the liability in this case)
If the victim is able to communicate, all medical acts must be done with his/her approval!
DOCMMONT : User Guide
This section is aimed at everyone : Sportsmen and travellers who are interested in field medicine, mountain professionals and physicians.
The coloured frames indicate who the information or advice is aimed at, and specifies the necessary medical training
- The text in black on white backgroun can be read and used by everyone, without specific medical training. The illness and trauma descriptions are easily understandeable by all and do not contain any advanced scientific or medical notions.
- The orange frames summarize for all readers the key points and golden rules: The essential elements of mountain medicine and basic emergency/survival acts and recommendations which every citizen should know.
- The green frames highlight the treatments and medical acts which can be delivered by anyone with basic first aid knowledge and anyone interested in mountain medicine,without having any formal skills
- The blue frames are aimed at the well-informed reader. They bring a more complete, scientific information regarding specific pathologies or mecanisms.
- Warning ! The recommendations and medical acts described in the red frames are only for doctors!
Outside of these red frames prescription drugs are also highlighted in red, as they can only be administered by a physician.
THE MOUNTAIN ENVIRONMENT
The mountain environment and its agressive nature
How can the human body be protected from it and what are its imits of adaptation to such an environement?
Pathologies linked the mountain environment and its specificities(cold, heat, altitude, isolation).
Each pathology is described individually.
Other, more common illnesses that occur and need to be treated in a mountain setting.
They are described by symptom.
How to respond to the most common traumas that may occur in the mountains (actions to take, victim care and conditioning).
THE ACTIONS THAT SAVE
Vital actions, reanimation, calling for help, giving the right information and medical evaluation
PREPARING AN EXPEDITION
To be read before leaving on a trip or expedition (preparation, prevention, vaccination, training).
Putting together a medical emergency kit adapted to your knowledge and skills before leaving on a hike,climb or expedition.