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Instructor Class Description

Time Schedule:

Andrew M. Luks
MED 534
Seattle Campus

Wilderness Medicine

Provides training in medical emergencies and clinical situations unique to wilderness settings where access to medical care is limited. Students gain experience in patient assessment, extrication, and the management of common wilderness situations including altitude illness, burns, trauma, diving injuries, hypo- and hyperthermia, and toxin exposures. Offered: Sp.

Class description

This course is designed to provide students with an introduction to core topics in the field of wilderness medicine. Students will learn the basics of patient assessment as well as fundamental aspects of diagnosis and management of several major categories of wilderness medical problems including high altitude medicine, diving and drowning, hypo- and hyperthermia,and frostbite, orthopedic injuries, ultraendurance athletic events and women in the wilderness. Students will also have the chance to apply their knowledge to case scenarios drawn from actual wilderness incidents and will develop improvisational skills necessary for managing wilderness emergencies.

Student learning goals

Conduct a thorough patient assessment in the wilderness setting

Clear a patients cervical spine following a traumatic injury and stabilize someone's head following potential c-spine injury

Recognize and manage the various forms of high altitude illness

Recognize and manage complications from underwater diving

Splint an extremity fracture

General method of instruction

The primary method of instruction will be didactic lectures. Many of the sixteen 50-minute class sessions will be given in lecture format while the remaining sessions will include case discussions, workshops in knot-tying, splinting and foot care and a presentation of the group projects.

Recommended preparation

The only prerequisite for this course is enthusiasm about the subject matter. The course is limited to second year medical students.

Class assignments and grading

There are no exams and there will not be a paper for this course. Students will participate in a group project during which they will have to devise a solution to a clinical problem in the wilderness as well as develop their own innovation to solve a potential wilderness medical issue. The emphasis in these group projects will be on team-work and learning how to improvise on the fly... two critical skills in the practice of wilderness medicine.

The course will be graded on a pass-fail basis. In order to pass the course, students must attend 14 of the 16 class sessions and must satisfactorily participate in their group assignment. Reading assignments are optional but students are expected to complete evaluations for all lectures in the course.


The information above is intended to be helpful in choosing courses. Because the instructor may further develop his/her plans for this course, its characteristics are subject to change without notice. In most cases, the official course syllabus will be distributed on the first day of class.
Additional Information
Last Update by Andrew M. Luks
Date: 02/20/2009