Archive for the ‘Dr Luanne Freer’ Category

Updates from Mountain Medicine course in Nepal led by Dr Luanne Freer

Our Mountain Medicine course heads for Nepal led by Everest ER founder Dr Luanne Freer, head medic for Antarctic Logistics and Expeditions Dr Martin Rhodes and world authority of frostbite and cold weather injuries vascular surgeon Prof Chris Imray.

Progress updates here and on the Expedition & Wilderness Facebook group

Updates; most recent on top

 

  1. We only got one Heli out -1/2 in lukla 1/2 back on ktm.  Will try again tomorrow morning.  Damn cyclone!
  2. Cyclone playing havoc with flights and all flights to lukla cancelled but not deterred EWM has hired all the available helicopters !!!
  3. The 2013 mountain medicine course is headed to lukla this morning!  We’ve amassed our considerable pile of gear and are negotiating the chaos of the ktm domestic terminal.  Lots of anxiety about the cyclone in Bay of Bengal (prayers to the people who are in the path of that storm) and it’s almost certain effects on the weather about to hit here – hope we all get landed at the trail head before rain rolls in!
  4. Just had group intros – everyone is here – we have 16 countries represented by our 30 participants!  Wow!  Well have some fun!

Join us next year in Nepal on the next Mountain Medicine course

 

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Oprah features Extreme Medicine Conference speaker

everest
Photo: Luanne Freer

In 1999, emergency room doctor Luanne Freer was invited on a volunteer medical mission to a remote Himalayan village in Nepal. Upon her group’s arrival, Freer was greeted by 600 villagers, many of whom had walked for days just to be seen at the clinic.

“They were lacking basic healthcare,” Freer says. “I felt like I could offer something meaningful.”

Back in her home base of Montana, Freer found herself eager to return to Nepal.Three years later, while volunteering at a clinic in Pheriche, Nepal, Freer hiked to Everest Base Camp. She discovered that only a few of the climbing expedition teams there included doctors with high-altitude training. Freer, who had the requisite knowledge from her years working in the Northern Rockies, was even more dismayed to learn that the area’s native Sherpa and Rai populations were sometimes turned away by the foreign expeditions’ doctors. She was determined to find a way to provide better medical care to both climbers and the hundreds of Nepalese working on Everest.In the spring of 2003, Freer founded Everest E.R.—a small clinic at Base Camp that operates during the two-and-a-half-month climbing season. The clinic supplies free and heavily subsidized medical care to locals by charging climbing teams a nominal fee. During its first year, Freer dealt with malfunctioning equipment and flooding (in addition to freezing temperatures and no electricity). But the memory of the first life she saved—a Nepali porter dying of cerebral edema—brought her back the following year. Since then the clinic has continued to grow: In 2003 it treated 84 patients; in 2012 it saw 570. Today nearly every expedition relies on Everest E.R. for medical care. But Freer, 55, says her connections with the local people are the greatest reward of all.

“I have tangible evidence that I’ve made a difference in someone’s life,” she says. “If I never picked up another stethoscope, I would still feel complete.”

From the April 2013 issue of O, The Oprah Magazine

Read more: http://www.oprah.com/spirit/Luanne-Freer-Everest-Doctor#ixzz2aQSmSNZS

Expedition & Wilderness Medicine courses of interest…

Meet Luanne at this years Extreme Medicine Conference hosted by the Harvard-Affiliated Fellowship in Disaster Medicine and Emergency Management

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Extreme Medicine speaker featured in Outside Magazine

Dr Luanne Freer, leader of Expedition & Wilderness Medicines Mountain Medicine CME & FAWM course in Nepal and speaker at the 2013 Extreme Medicine Conference at Harvard Medical School, is featured in Outside Magazine…

OUTSIDE ONLINE
THURSDAY, MAY 17, 2012

LUANNE FREER: BEHIND THE SCENES IN EVEREST’S EMERGENCY ROOM

This is shaping up to be one of the deadliest seasons on record, with 10 deaths so far and too many helicopter evacuations to count. Here’s a sneak peak at the doctors on the front lines of the world’s highest clinic.

By: GRAYSON SCHAFFER

Photograph: Freer in front of the Everest ER tent. Photo: Grayson Schaffer
Editor’s Note: The Everest 2012 season is shaping up to be one of the deadliest on record. So far, 10 people have died either on Everest or by injuries sustained on Everest. (For comparison, 15 people perished in 1996, the deadliest year to date. (The tragedies of that season having been famously chronicled by Jon Krakaeur in Into Thin Air.) More recently, 11 climbers died in 2006.

Not surprisingly, this has been one of the busiest seasons on record at the Everest Emergency Room, the clinic at Base Camp that Dr. Luanne Freer founded 10 years ago. In late April, when Schaffer first spoke with Freer and her staff, they had already seen over 200 people. Since then, the number of patients has risen to roughly 500, many of whom were seriously injured or sick—there have been so many helicopter evacuations this year that they’ve lost track. There are multiple flights each day, both medical and non-medical, that Freer’s staff doesn’t necessarily hear about. In the aftermath of this latest disaster, there were seven evacuations from Camp II (and up to 6,700-meters) alone.

Below, Schaffer speaks with Freer about the difficulties of operating the world’s highest clinic and the top five reasons people come in for a visit.It’s been 10 climbing seasons since an idealistic emergency room doc from Bozeman, Montana, first set up a clinic at Everest Base Camp. Since then, Luanne Freer, now 54, has grown her non-profit to include three doctors and a two-cot platform tent that is, if not quite space-age, a lot more comfy than everything else in camp.When she began, Freer spent the off-season raising money to support her operation—the main focus of which is to offer health care for the Sherpas and other local staff who might not otherwise receive quality care in camp. While she still spends the off-season fundraising, Freer now (with the help of some local contacts) cajoles and coerces roughly 75 percent of the commercial Everest operators to pay $100 per climber for her services. If an entire expedition signs up for coverage, all of the local staff are covered for free.

“We’re happy to see climbers,” says Freer, “but in the end, the thing that makes our hearts warm is seeing the little cooks and the Sherpas.”This year has been especially busy for the ER staff, which also includes Dr. Rachel Anderson, 33, of Manchester, England, and the organization’s first Nepalese doc, Ashish Lohani, 27. Within the first three weeks of the season—when we spoke—the ER had already seen 220 patients and overseen roughly a dozen helicopter rescues, more evacuations than in all of 2011. They’ve also seen some rare maladies, including two cases of deep vein thrombosis, an ischemic foot (no oxygen supply, though not frostbite related), a 33-year-old who had a stroke in the ER, and a trekker who’d suppressed her altitude headaches with narcotics and ended up with cerebral edema by the time she reached Base Camp.

In the 10 years that the clinic has been in operation, the biggest change is probably the new ubiquity of helicopters. Freer explained that climbers have always had rescue insurance, but it used to be that helicopters were incredibly scarce in Nepal. In some years, the only option for rescue was a military-owned, Russian-built Mi-8.

“Now we have these big machines,” says Freer, “and heli companies that are competing for the business.” Freer admits that she does sometimes feel under pressure to authorize helicopter evacuations in questionable cases and that she’s sometimes overridden by a climber’s personal physician back home.

“We have an ethical issue,” she says “You have to be reasonable. There was a guy down in Pheriche who wanted to call a helicopter because he had a sinus infection—you have to put your foot down somewhere.”

What Ails You
Here, Freer and Anderson explain the top five reasons people darken their tent flap

1. Khumbu Cough, aka high altitude cough: It’s a little bit controversial in the medical climbing community. There are some people who feel like it’s sub-clinical high-altitude pulmonary edema. “They’re not hypoxic yet, they’re not leaking yet, but it’s pulmonary pressure that causes it,” says Freer. “I’m not in that camp. I believe it’s the extremely dry air—relative humidity is four-five percent here—combined with the cold and it just cracks the bronchial tree.”

2. Viral Respiratory Infection, aka the common cold: Somebody who has a bacterial infection usually has a fever, though you can still get a fever with viral infections. Coughing up a lot of green stuff is usually a sign of bacterial infections. When you listen to the chest, you can hear it. Our bodies have a harder time fighting off illness at high altitude, and we’ve got a really impatient community here. “They want to be fixed in 24 hours with a tablet,” says Anderson. “They’ll say ‘I’m going up tomorrow, gimme the best thing you’ve got.’ And unfortunately, we have to tell them: You’ve got a cold. What would you do at home if you had a cold? We’re sensitive to it, but it gets frustrating.”

3. Gastritis: “It’s more prevalent among the native population,” says Freer. We’re not talking about infection, this is inflammation of the stomach lining that causes pain—acid reflux. With hypoxia from the altitude, the stomach lining doesn’t get as much oxygen, either. It can be more serious up here. When you’re doing really hard work, your body has to decide where the oxygen goes. “The muscles and brain always win out,” says Anderson, “and the gut loses.”

4. Infectious Gastritis: The stomach bug. A simple matter of not washing your hands, and not properly treating water and food. Antibiotics are effective against these.

5. Altitude Issues: Periodic breathing, insomnia, acute mountain sickness (AMS), high-altitude pulmonary and cerebral edema (HAPE and HACE). “We know from big studies that at the altitude of Lobuche (16,210 feet), 50 percent of people will develop AMS—headache, dizziness, loss of appetite,” says Freer. What’s different up here is that people are self-selected. Most people who are going to get sick get sick at lower elevations and never make it to Base Camp. And climbers tend to be pretty well tested at altitude. It’s a group that’s self-selected for success.

Expedition & Wilderness Medicine courses of interest…

Meet Luanne at this years Extreme Medicine Conference hosted by the Harvard-Affiliated Fellowship in Disaster Medicine and Emergency Management

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Nepal Mountain Medicine with Dr Luanne Feer

 

Expedition & Wilderness Medicine

Mountain Medicine Course in Nepal: Visit Everest Base Camp High Altitiude Clinic in the company of its founder Dr Luanne Freer
22.5 CME | 22 October 2012 to 08 November 2012
Unique experience – world class faculty

Join Dr Freer, Dr Martin ‘Doc Martin’ Rhodes (CMO for the TV production ‘Poles Apart’and Antarctic Logistics & Expeditions), and Dr John Apps (MO at Union Glacier in Antarctica) for an amazing trek combining adventure and learning as you make your way up to Dr Freer’s seasonal home at the world’s highest medical clinic at Everest Base Camp.The CME accredited Mountain Medicine Course will draw on the impressive experience of these three specialists to deliver a didactic learning experience in one of world’s most stunning classrooms.’It’s the ultimate win-win-win”: join us on a trek that supports the nonprofit Everest ER that combines great exercise, exploration, and learning. Medical professionals earn CME credits (but non medics are welcome to join too!) and a portion of the proceeds benefit the Everest ER. Watch the BBC’s feature on Everest ER.

Find out more here….

International World Extreme Medicine Conference & EXPO 2013 – BOSTON USAAutumn in Boston; world class speakers, great networking & 31.75 CME & FAWN credits – DETAILS AVAILABLE SEPTEMBER 2012. Find out more >>
CLICK TO VIEW THE EXPEDITION & WILDERNESS MEDICINE COURSESQuote ‘Expedition Medicine’ to receive very special RSM membership discounts.
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Remote Medicine posts and latest course news

Expedition & Wilderness Medicine course in the Lake District, Mountain Medicine in Nepal and Remote Medicine Jobs
Keswick Expedition & Wilderness Medicine Course05 March 2012 to 08 March 2012

We are starting to get geared up here at EWM for the first of our Expedition & Wilderness Medicine courses in the Lake District. It is always particularly stunning at this time of year, even worth staying on after the course to enjoy.

We are also looking forward to welcoming back our peripatetic medical directors old and new. During the course Drs Sean Hudson and Caroline Knox are going to be sharing their experience of working as ski field medics on New Zealand’s South Island and working at Union Glacier in Antarctica, whilst our incumbent director Dr Amy Hughes has just returned from an intensive six month stint with MSF in the northern part of Sri Lanka – (formerly held by Tamil Tigers) – and she will using the Rupert Bennett Memorial Lecture slot to tell the story of her journey.

We are also really pleased to be welcoming back Professor Chris Imray to talk about his involvement in the Caudwell Xtreme Everest Expedition and his recent climb up Denali in Alaska, and Dr Rob Conway, founder of the award winning marine conservation charity Blue Ventures. This is, of course, as well as our regular team of eclectic medics.

We were fortunate to be visited by ITV’s John Bevir during last September’s course and his report makes interesting viewing. Watch it here.

Find out more here | Email Expedition & Wilderness Medicine for more details

Mountain Medicine Course.

The Mountain Medicine in Nepal with EverestER founder Dr Luanne Freer is departing in April and has a few places left. on this iconic learning experience trekking to Base Camp.

To find out more about this iconic learning experience trekking to base camp follow this link. EverestER and Luanne are featured in a BBC documentary which also makes very interesting watching.See EverestER in action here

Announcing a new course.

A Pre-hospital trauma and medical emergency 2 day course for medical practitioners who may not have regular exposure to acute emergencies and trauma care, but who are interested in improving and refining their skill base for expeditions, humanitarian relief missions or everyday practice. The course will be CME accredited. Email Expedition & Wilderness Medicine to pre-register your interest

Jobs

There are some great jobs out there at the moment, make sure you ‘like’ our Facebook page to hear about them first FACEBOOK PAGE or keep a regular eye on our home page.

Volunteer Doctor for International Porter Protection Group

Work on the most remote inhabited island in the world…

Recruiting a doctor for our Lifeline Clinic Doctor in Namibia

We have some other great courses coming up this year, led by inspiring medics, topped off by the Antarctic Wilderness medical Conference with National Geographic, at the end of the year.

Why not do something different with your medical degree this year??

Why not join us at Extreme Medicine Conference at the Royal Society of Medicine? We have just made the speakers’ page live and it’s a pretty impressive array – but don’t take our word for it, visit the website to see for yourself. www.ExtremeMedicineExpo.com.

Reserve your place on Extreme Medicine now.

PolarExpeditionNepal

Nepal

Nepal

International World Extreme Medicine Conference & EXPOExpedition & Wilderness Medicine would like to introduce a major new International World Extreme Medicine Conference and EXPO series starting in 2012. Find out more >>
CLICK TO VIEW THE EXPEDITION & WILDERNESS MEDICINE COURSESQuote ‘Expedition Medicine’ to receive very special RSM membership discounts.
Expedition Diving Mountain
Trauma Jungle Wild
Desert Polar Antarctic
www.expeditionmedicine.co.uk © Expedition & Wilderness Medicine 2011
admin@expeditionmedicine.co.uk Tel: +44 (0) 1476 879 013
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Everest ER founder heads up Mountain Medicine Course in Nepal

Expedition & Wilderness Medicine – enews
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Expedition & Wilderness MedicineJoin Dr Luanne Freer Director of Medicine at Yellowstone National Park, past president of the Wilderness Medical Society & founder of Everest ER in Nepal this April.
Mountain Medicine Course in Nepal14th April 2012 to 1st May 2012
Join Dr Freer, Dr Martin ‘Doc Martin’ Rhodes (CMO for the TV production ‘Poles Apart’ and Antarctic Logistics & Expeditions), and Dr John Apps (MO at Union Glacier in Antarctica) for an amazing trek combining adventure and learning as you make your way up to Dr Freer’s seasonal home at the world’s highest medical clinic at Everest Base Camp.The CME accredited Mountain Medicine Course will draw on the impressive experience of these three specialists to deliver a didactic learning experience in one of world’s most stunning classrooms.

‘It’s the ultimate win-win-win”: join us on a trek that supports the nonprofit Everest ER that combines great exercise, exploration, and learning. Medical professionals earn CME credits (but non medics are welcome to join too!) and a portion of the proceeds benefit the Everest ER. Watch the BBC’s feature on Everest ER

If you can’t travel to Nepal why not join us at the Extreme Medicine Conference? This spring, The Royal Society of Medicine will host the inaugural World Extreme Medicine Conference & EXPO from Sunday 15th – Wednesday 18th April, aimed at attracting a range of attendees from across the medical profession.

The conference is a unique opportunity to share the insight and knowledge of the leaders in the field, explore the opportunities that this area of medicine could offer and obtain valuable CME credits The Extreme Medicine Conference website.

MountainNepalBase
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International World Extreme Medicine Conference & EXPOExpedition & Wilderness Medicine would like to introduce a major new International World Extreme Medicine Conference and EXPO series starting in 2012. Find out more >>
CLICK TO VIEW THE EXPEDITION & WILDERNESS MEDICINE COURSESQuote ‘Expedition Medicine’ to receive very special RSM membership discounts.
Expedition Diving Mountain
Trauma Jungle Wild
Desert Polar Antarctic
www.expeditionmedicine.co.uk © Expedition & Wilderness Medicine 2011
admin@expeditionmedicine.co.uk Tel: +44 (0) 1476 879 013

 

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Nepal Mountain Medicine with Dr Luanne Freer

Details on next year’s Mountain Medicine course trekking to Everest Base Camp with the founder of EverestER, Dr Luanne Freer.

Expedition & Wilderness Medicine

Upcoming Courses: Mountain Medicine in Nepal, Extreme Medicine Conference London 2012 and Dive & Marine Medicine on the Great Barrier Reef

Mountain Medicine Course in Nepal New dates for our Mountain Medicine Course in Nepal with Dr Luanne Freer, founder of EverestER.14th April 2012 to 1st May 2012.Join Dr Freer, Dr Martin ‘Doc Martin’ Rhodes (CMO for the TV production ‘Poles Apart’and Antarctic Logistics & Expeditions), and Dr John Apps (MO at Union Glacier in Antarctica) for an amazing trek combining adventure and learning as you make your way up to Dr Freer’s seasonal home at the world’s highest medical clinic at Everest Base Camp.

‘Mountain medicine course was one of the most amazing experiences of my life lead by a world class exped team. Really grateful for the opportunity to attend the course’

The CME accredited Mountain Medicine Course will draw on the impressive experience of these three specialists to deliver a didactic learning experience in one of world’s most stunning classrooms.

If you can’t travel to Nepal why not join us at Extreme Medicine Conference at the Royal Society of Medicine? We have just made the speakers’ page live and it’s a pretty impressive array – but don’t take our word for it, visit the website to see for yourself.

New course launch Australia A 6 day medical training course based on Australia’s world renowned Great Barrier Reef. This course aims to give participants an understanding of conditions likely to occur whilst working as a doctor on a diving or marine based expedition and is led by world marine environment expert Dr Mark Read.

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International World Extreme Medicine Conference & EXPO

Expedition & Wilderness Medicine would like to introduce a major new International World Extreme Medicine Conference and EXPO series starting in 2012. Find out more >>

 

CLICK TO VIEW THE EXPEDITION & WILDERNESS MEDICINE COURSES

Quote ‘Expedition Medicine’ to receive very special RSM membership discounts.

Expedition Diving Mountain
Trauma Jungle Wild
Desert Polar Antarctic

 

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Dr Luanne Freer talks about Mountain Medicine

The next CME Mountain Medicine course sets off for Nepal in April 2012.

Dr Luanne Freer, founder of EverestER, the highest medical post in the world and feature of the well known BBC documentary, talks about what she believes are the strengths of the EWM Mountain Medicine course

Spaces on this course are restricted. To book your place now visit the Mountain Medicine webpage

Also of interest – Extreme Medicine Conference

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Nepal Mountain Medicine course returns

The Expedition & Wilderness Medicine Mountain Medicine Course in Nepal has received some fantastic feedback via our Facebook group

It was a fantastic dream that came true!! I miss you all here in Nepal, but I hope to see you again!! The adventure will continue ♥ !

2nd day back at work – still glowing !!  Thanks everyone for an amazing time. It was quite incredible. Miss you all!

What a fantastic adventure! Thank you everyone for making it so enjoyable! Now back to reality…

 

EWM’s Facebook group

Photo’s (c) Ian Quigley

Assembling a rope stretcher

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Dr Luane Freer demonstrated the use of the Kenrick Splint

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Following the Everest Base Camp Trail from Lukla, the Wilderness Mountain Medicine course will run over a total of 16 days. 13 days will be spent trekking at an easy pace, staying in Nepalese teahouses along the route and enjoying the spectacular scenery along the route.

The Wilderness Mountain Medicine course will count for 22.5 CME points

A donation is made from the proceeds of the Wilderness Mountain Medicine Course in Nepal to the Everest ER organisation (a US based nonprofit charity org) to help continue its life saving work at Everest Base Camp.   Everest ER T-shirts and 2011 patches for your rucksack can be gained by making a small donation.

To find out when the next CME accredited Mountain Medicine course is running visit the Expedition & Wilderness Medicine website

Of interest  Extreme Medicine Conference

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Nepal Mountain Medicine leader featured in Smithsonian article

Dr Luanne Freer, leader of this years Nepal CME accredited Wilderness Mountain Medicine course in Nepal, has been written up in a brillant article on the illustrouis Smithsonian website in an article entitled ‘Inside the ER at Mt. Everest’ by Molly Loomis.

A middle-aged woman squats motionless on the side of the trail, sheltering her head from the falling snow with a tattered grain sack.

Wilderness Medicine

Find out more about Mountain Medicine in Nepal

Luanne Freer, an emergency room doctor from Bozeman, Montana, whose athletic build and energetic demeanor belie her 53 years, sets down her backpack and places her hand on the woman’s shoulder. “Sanche cha?” she asks. Are you OK?

The woman motions to her head, then her belly and points up-valley. Ashish Lohani, a Nepali doctor studying high-altitude medicine, translates.

“She has a terrible headache and is feeling nauseous,” he says. The woman, from the Rai lowlands south of the Khumbu Valley, was herding her yaks on the popular Island Peak (20,305 feet), and had been running ragged for days. Her headache and nausea indicate the onset of Acute Mountain Sickness, a mild form of altitude illness that can progress to High Altitude Cerebral Edema (HACE), a swelling of the brain that can turn deadly if left untreated. After assessing her for HACE by having her walk in a straight line and testing her oxygen saturation levels, the doctors instruct her to continue descending to the nearest town, Namche Bazaar, less than two miles away.

Freer, Lohani and I are trekking through Nepal’s Khumbu Valley, home to several of the world’s highest peaks, including Mount Everest. We are still days from our destination of Mount Everest Base Camp and Everest ER, the medical clinic that Freer established nine years ago, but already Freer’s work has begun. More than once as she has hiked up to the base camp, Freer has encountered a lowland Nepali, such as the Rai woman, on the side of the trail ill from altitude. Thankfully, this yak herder is in better condition than most. A few weeks earlier, just before any of the clinics had opened for the spring season, two porters had succumbed to altitude-related illnesses.

Each year over 30,000 people visit the Khumbu to gaze upon the icy slopes of its famed peaks, traverse its magical rhododendron forests and experience Sherpa hospitality by the warmth of a yak dung stove. Some visitors trek between teahouses, traveling with just a light backpack while a porter carries their overnight belongings. Others are climbers, traveling with a support staff that will aid them as they attempt famous peaks such as Everest (29,029 feet), Lhotse (27,940 feet) and Nuptse (25,790 feet). Many of these climbers, trekkers and even their support staff will fall ill to altitude-induced ailments, such as the famed Khumbu cough, or gastro-intestinal bugs that are compounded by altitude.

A short trip with a group of fellow doctors to the Khumbu in 1999 left Freer desperate for the chance to return to the area and learn more from the local people she had met. So in 2002 Freer volunteered for the Himalayan Rescue Association’s Periche clinic—a remote stone outpost accessed by a five-day hike up to 14,600 feet. Established in 1973, Periche is located at an elevation where, historically, altitude-related problems begin to manifest in travelers who have come up too far too fast.

For three months, Freer worked in Periche treating foreigners, locals and even animals in cases ranging from the simple—blisters and warts—to the serious, instructing another doctor in Kunde, a remote village a day’s walk away, via radio how to perform spinal anesthesia on a woman in labor. Both the woman and the baby survived.

Find out more about the  Nepal CME accredited Wilderness Mountain Medicine course in Nepal attendance of this course will count toward a FAWN degree.
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