Early in 1999, 16 members of the Himalayan Hands expedition
attended a detailed expedition first aid course. This course
was run by professional expedition first aid trainers over a
wet weekend in Burnley.
Expedition first aid is first aid like you have never seen it before.
Start with the premise that you are far from help, there are no ambulances
or hospitals within hours reach and the western first aid ideas of what
you can and cannot do have to be ditched.
From straightening broken limbs to eye injuries, infections to hypothermia,
diseases to diabetes. We dealt with almost everything that could go wrong on
an expedition the common things such as tripping to the not so common such
as rabies. The list of drugs alone and there uses seemed to go on for ever. How
much of these medical supplies could we even carry up a mountain. As it turned
out quite a lot. And the stethoscope did come in useful.
The weekend was draining and the list of things that could go wrong while
on expedition had us all wondering if we could come back alive. But forewarned is
forearmed so they say, and the training gave us the confidence in our
own abilities to manage problems in the wild.