A career in...
The back of beyond
Wilderness medicine is expanding and improving with the growing and changing demands of travellers. Yassar Mustafa looks at how things have moved on
- By: Yassar Mustafa
When the explorer Henry Stanley led an expedition from Zanzibar to the Congo in 1874, less than half the members of his 356 strong expedition team returned alive. Fifty eight men were killed in battle or murdered, 45 got smallpox, 21 had dysentery, 14 drowned, one was eaten by a crocodile, two died of fever, five were executed, and the rest got lost, went mad, were eaten by cannibals, died of opium overdose, or starved.1
Although many of the hazards facing Stanley’s expedition still challenge explorers today, we are in a much better position to minimise risks through careful planning and consulting the accumulated evidence base of medicine with its drugs, vaccines, and technology.
Wilderness medicine, also known as expedition medicine, is often defined as the provision of medical care in a remote environment where definitive care is more than an hour away—usually days or weeks away. It has