Archive for the ‘Film and Media medical support’ Category

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A journey to Palau – swimming across one of the deepest trenches in the world, media medical work with the BBC

Watch BBC Big Splash tomorrow, 20th June, at 4.30 BBC2 to see Dr Amy Hughes supporting Blue Peters two world records for swimming in one of the deepest stretches of water on the planet.

As often is the case, many of the media operations requiring a medic often do so at the very last minute. This in no way reflects badly on the programme or producers themselves, it is often just the case that many don’t think about the requirement of medical cover for a shoot until highlighted by either the insurance documents or, with final plans in place, the realization of quite how remote the shoot is! The benefits of this for the medic is that it adds a whole new dimension to the event, as limited preparation time only adds to the wonderfully enjoyable challenge of working with the media.

Media medical support for the BBC

In this case, I had a couple of days to prepare for an overseas shoot with the BBC (Blue Peter). The main challenge for this project arose with the planning of medical kit to take. I needed enough for a 10 strong boat crew, an endurance swim and a country with a scarcely resourced hospital. Once on the boat, the minimal casevac time was thought to be around 24 hours from the time taken to sail from the depths of the pacific ocean to an air strip or helicopter pick up point. And so began my 48 hour almost sleepless venture of composing, ordering and searching for various drugs and bits of kit I may need for any possible medical or traumatic eventuality. In planning it can often be easy to focus on the activity at hand and what injuries could result from that, and overlook the more common likely events that may happen amongst the crew – for example someone slipping on a wet deck and banging their head resulting in a extradural or subdural bleed (time critical) or a myocardial infarction (pretty time critical). Everything needs to be considered, including quantities sufficient to treat one or more individuals who may suffer a similar illness at the furthest possible casevac point – for example a severe bout of food poisoning requiring intravenous fluids and antiemetics 23 hours 59 minutes from aeromedical retrieval! Something to be aware of is that ordering drugs, especially opiates and controlled drugs, takes at least 24 hours and that can be delayed due to stock levels. Also, various forms of signed official paperwork are required prior to online pharmacies dispensing opiates which is time consuming (those who are hospital doctors will find this is the best way to source drugs such as morphine and fentanyl. GPs often have access to a controlled drug prescription pad).

Palau, Latitude 70 30’00″ North, longitude 1340 30’00” east; is an island of approximately 459 square kilometers and with a population of 20000, sitting about 500 miles east of the Philippines forming part of the Micronesian state. The island hosts a beautiful outcrop of rock islands as well as probably the most beautiful coves of sand and gardens of coral. It is a truly stunning island, slowly becoming popular with divers although the dive sites are still relatively untouched.

Palau was to be the island from which Blue Peter presenter Andy Akinwolere started his journey of swimming 8km across one of the worlds deepest trenches. For someone with a fear of deep water and having only learnt to swim ten weeks prior, it was an incredible achievement.

Fortunately the only medical emergency that I was required for was the delivery of an intramuscular injection of Stemetil in a futile attempt to cease the vomiting of a sea sickness victim. The rest of the trip was uneventful and an absolute delight to be part of. In a way though, there is always that slight disappointment that my 26kg of medical kit wasn’t put to use……….!

Dr Amy Hughes, Medical Director Expedition and Wilderness Medicine


Expedition Medicine medics involved with UNICEF challenges

Having participated in an Expedition and Wilderness Medicine training course can open up a whole network of contacts and opportunities, not only do expedition, media and travel organisations look more favourably on EWM trained medics who have participated in one of our courses we a have  an incredible network of contacts who are constantly on adventures, working remotely and who need remote medical cover.

Recently expedition medics have been working with UNICEF  and with a well known charity challenge compamy to provide medical cover on thier fundraising adventures – they are off to Namibia next and you can find out more about UNICEF’s fundraising expeditions here.


Doctor, Olympic & Paralympic Torch Relays needed

The Torch Relay is a key part of staging the Olympic and Paralympic Games. Steeped in symbolism and history, the Olympic Flame lighting in Olympia and handover of the Flame to the UK, will represent the beginning of the 2012 Games, while the moment the Paralympic flame is extinguished will represent the end of London’s seven year journey since winning the bid. Between lies the opportunity for thousands of ordinary people to run with the Flame and Torch, being part of these epic events.

We need an experienced Emergency Medical & General Practitioner Doctor, with a strong emergency medical background. Your core responsibility is to provide emergency medical and general practitioner services and preventative applications to Torch Relay staff, Torchbearers and police security runners.

You will work closely with the Metropolitan Police Service and the Tour Manager to ensure that emergency medical procedures and plans are put in place and medical and health preventative mechanisms are planned and implemented prior to the commencement of the relay.

London 2012’s vision is to use the power of the Games to inspire change. We are committed to involving youth and creating events that showcase our diversity. As with all elements of our work, these core values will form the foundations of our Torch Relays.

The role will require extensive travel and time commitments. Travel during the period of the Torch Relays (approximately 100 days) is a requirement of this position. Significant time away from home for this extended period is required. A considerable amount of travel during the planning period will also be necessary.



Jerry Gore, joining the Keswick course facualty in September wins the Prix Alain Bombard.

Jerry, who joins us on our September Expedition Medicine course to present the present the Rupert Bennett Memorial Lecture wins Prix Alain Bombard award, which ‘recognizes the exceptional nature of an adventure involving an education is delivered to the British diabetic climber Jerry Gore in the film Trango.’

Alain Bombard was a French biologist, physician and politician famous for sailing across the Atlantic Ocean in a small boat without provisions in an extreme test of endurance and survival.


Jerry was born in Britain on April 15th 1961, is married with two children, and was diagnosed as a Type 1 diabetic on January 31st 2001. Though new to diabetes, Jerry has not let diabetes get in the way of his activities.


A chance to join a small team of select expeditions medics

Across the Divide one of the markets leaders in the charity treks and challenges, the first company of its type to employ medics on its charity challenges has some rare vacancies within its medical support team and is looking for expedition doctors with previous Kilimanjaro or high altitude experience. 

Across the Divide | Charity ChallengesAll expedition doctors at Across the Divide are salaried, reasonable expenses are covered and a full high altitude medical kit provided along with full risk assessments, casualty evacuation plans and satellite communications. 

In order to make the most of this rare opportunity please contact Steve Clark –  but experience is essential.


Nick Arding OBE joins as part of the Nepal Mountain Medicine Team

Nick Arding will be joining Expedition Medicines Mountain Medicine course on the Everest Base Camp Trail along with Dr’s Luanne Freer of Everest ER and Amy Hughes of Kent HEM’s service in October on what promises to be an amazing CME accredited course*.

Nick served as an officer in the Royal Marines for 22 years, travelling and climbing widely during that time. In ‘92 he took part in the British Annapurna 2 Expedition and in ‘93 led his own trip to climb the West Buttress of Mt McKinley in Alaska.  He commanded the Commando Training Centre Royal Marines from 2003 to 2005.

In 2003 Nick led a Royal Navy expedition to climb Everest by its North Ridge; not only did they climb the mountain but his team were instrumental in rescuing two other climbers from above 8000m, the highest mountain rescue on record and for which he was awarded the Royal Humane Society Bronze Medal. 

A keen rock climber and mountaineer since his teens, Nick holds the Mountaineering Instructor (MI)  and International Mountain Leader (MIA) awards.He left the Royal Marines in 2005 to qualify as a teacher and now works as a leadership coach and management consultant. He has led civilian teams to Mongolia, Nepal and the Alps, and when not working can usually be found on a rock face or in a sea kayak!  In 2009 Nick took a team of friends to the Rolwaling Valley in Nepal to attempt an unclimbed mountain called Cheki-go. He has close links with this region, having raised funds to sponsor local Sherpas, three of whom have been able to visit the UK to improve their climbing skills and English language.

*accredited by the Wilderness Medical Society


Great week on Keswick Expedition Medicine course

Another superb Expedition and Wilderness Medicine training course in Keswick

The Great North Air Ambulance, dedicated to Expedition Medicine facualty member Dr Rupert Bennett sadly killed in a climbing accident on Ben Nevis, lands as part of a search and rescue training scenerio on the course which aims to prepared medics for working in remote locations and is accredited by the Wilderness Medical Society.


Hannah McKeand has kindly agreed to be the guest speaker on the September Keswick Expedition Medicine Course

Guest speaker – Hannah McKeand, renown Polar Explorer

In 2004 Hannah joined a British expedition to explore the isolated Wakan Corridor in the northeast of Afghanistan in search of the source of the River Oxus. The strip is walled by the Hindu Kush in Pakistan to the south, the Pamirs in Tajikistan to the north and the Karakorams in China to the east. The upper regions of this mountain valley can only be reached on foot by crossing several 15,000ft passes and has rarely been visited by westerners. Part of the research was to take DNA samples of the nomadic tribe people there to establish their genetic links to Alexander the Great and his army.Clipper Round the World Yacht Race



September Expedition Medicine Course 23.75 CME points and WMS accredited…. filling up fast

The September Expedition Medicine course in Keswick located on the banks of Derwentwater in the stunning English Lakes and 23.75 CME points and WMS accredited, is filling up fast – if you want to be sure of a place then you need to let us know as soon as you can – contact Rosi at

Guest speaker – Hannah McKeand, renown Polar Explorer


Amazon Adventures with Dr Lucy Dickinson, the BBC and Sports Relief

Expedition and Wilderness Medicine

Dangers of kayaking the Amazon

Lucy Dickinson has just returned from accompanying Helen Skelton and the BBC team as Helen kayaked 2,010 miles down the Amazon. Here are her thoughts upon her return.

” I’ve just had my first experience of TV expedition work escorting Helen Skelton from Blue Peter kayaking down the Amazon. I still can’t quite believe I got the opportunity to have such an amazing trip. So how did it compare to the other expedition work I’ve done? Well it’s still just you and your box of tricks in the middle of nowhere improvising and trying to manage the risks. It’s still having an adventure and seeing a beautiful part of the earth. It’s still meeting new people from different parts of the world and learning different ways of life that put some perspective on the way we live our lives here. It’s still being inspired by interesting people doing exceptional things.

For a change, this trip was no physical challenge for me, in fact it was a challenge to sit still for 6 weeks! It was new having people thriving on the little dramas “because they make good TV”. It was exciting watching the BBC team doing a live broadcast from a sand bank in the middle of the Amazon knowing that people in the UK were watching it back in the UK as it was happening. It is not my idea of fun being in front of a camera and I constantly thought back to that conversation I had in London with Eric, the producer, about how I agreed to be on film only in exceptional circumstances if absolutely necessary. The reality was far from this and I can only hope that when the Blue Peter specials and the Sport Relief programme come out this week that I won’t cringe at the appearance of my “character” as they refer to you. As with most expeditions I’ve done it was a great pleasure and a privilege to work with a team of very lovely, interesting and fun people and have an exciting diversion to day to day General Practice.

…..If they ever ask me to do another trip with them I’ll jump at the chance.”