Career focus: Expedition medicine
Expedition medicine is challenging, exciting, and character building - and also hazardous, hard work, and poorly paid. Stephen Hearns has advice for those who want to get away
Increasing numbers of people are travelling to remote parts of the world, often participating in hazardous sports and activities. All of them need the advice and help of a doctor. For most, this will simply mean advice with regard to immunisations, risk of malaria, and appropriate first aid equipment. Large groups on more prolonged expeditions may recruit a doctor to travel with them to deal with medical problems as they arise.
The expedition medical officer has many responsibilities and tasks, most of which will be completed before the trip leaves the United Kingdom. These tasks include making a risk assessment of the environment that the team is travelling to and the activities being undertaken, gathering medical information on those travelling on the expedition, assembling appropriate medical kit, and providing advice about immunisations.1 During the expedition the medical officer is responsible for assessing and managing those who become ill or injured