Expedition and wilderness medicine
What does this evolving specialty have to offer?
- By: Katrina Lines, Brett Rocos
- Published: 08 June 2012
- DOI: 10.1136/sbmj.e3459
- Cite this as: Student BMJ 2012;20:e3459
I traded in a week of lectures for a week of expedition medicine in Brazil. As members of the 2011 Jungle Marathon medical team, our job was to ensure the safety of 40 runners racing across the Amazon rainforest. It was an exhilarating experience, which gave me insight into the specialty and the opportunity to ask senior medics what advice they would give to medical students and junior doctors with aspirations in this field.
Expedition and wilderness medicine is concerned with the physical and psychological wellbeing of people in austere environments where access to medical services is difficult or impossible.1 The terms “expedition” and “wilderness” can be used interchangeably (“wilderness” was adopted in the United States).
Since the first explorers travelled into the wilderness, there has been a need for expedition medicine, and as more people travel to remote environments, expedition medicine is encompassing scientific discovery, charity fundraising, and personal