New Cold Injury Assessment Card

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Volume 28 Number 6

Our friend and advisor, Dr. Gordon Giesbrecht, a.k.a Professor Popsicle, sent us a sample of a project he has been working on: a useful card on assessing a cold patient. The card is being distributed by an organization called (BICO stands for Baby It’s Cold Outside) a group dedicated to better educating rescuers about the identification and treatment of cold injuries.

The site hosts a series of video presentations, interactive videos, and resource materials that can be accessed by anyone who registers. The material on the site is presented as an online course that supported by the government of Canada through their Search and Rescue New Initiative Fund (SAR NIF).

It looks like an excellent resource for anyone involved with Search and Rescue or the practice of Wilderness Medicine.

If you want to see the card that Gordon sent us, check out the Images below.

If you would like to print the card, You can click on either image and then print.



Disclaimer: The content of the Wilderness Medicine Newsletter is not a substitute for formal training or the recommendation of an expert. The authors, editors, and artists are not responsible for inaccuracies.

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Sexually Transmitted Diseases



By Frank Hubbell, DO

Now what?

We are not rewriting Sex in the Outdoors, published in the 1980’s, but never made into a movie, and we are not trying to define wilderness standards and morals. As the old saying goes, “SEX HAPPENS,” and since sex does happen, as a consequence, so do sexually transmitted diseases (STD’s). The experts are even claiming that the mosquitoborne zika virus can be a sexually transmitted disease, not just between mosquitoes, but in humans as well.

STD’s are some of the most commonly diagnosed and treated communicable diseases on earth. There is nothing special about the wilderness setting to prevent them from occurring. This is simply another aspect of the human condition that we, as trip leaders and professional outdoor guides, have to understand.

As promised in the last WMNL, we will review all of the STD’s with their underlying pathophysiology, symptoms, diagnosis, and treatments.

These various diseases can be divided into three categories based on common sets of symptoms.

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Seal and Sea Lion Bites

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Volume 28 Number 5

Dangerous Cousins

By Jeff Toorish, NREMTP

As an avid SCUBA diver and dive instructor, I have had my fair share of encounters with seals and sea lions. In general I steer clear of these large, sometimes aggressive, top-of-the-food-chain predators. Over the years I have seen a lot of people, both underwater and on land, get too close to these animals. What they likely don’t know is a seal or sea lion bite can lead to a serious infection.

Seals and sea lions are, essentially, second cousins; along with the walrus, they are pinnipeds, which is Latin for “fin-footed.” There are differences. Sea lions have a distinctive loud bark while seals tend to be quieter. Sea lions have outer ear flaps while seals don’t have any external ear, giving them a more hydrodynamic, sleek head. Seals are more adapted to staying in the water for longer periods, although both seals and sea lions spend time on land.


I have had encounters with seals while diving off the coast of New England, and I spent nearly two weeks diving with sea lions in the Sea of Cortez. I can tell you from experience, these are territorial, aggressive animals that will not hesitate to defend themselves or their raft, the name for a group of sea lions.

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Obstetrics and Gynecology, a Review for Wilderness Providers



By Frank Hubbell, DO

We have written about many different topics in this newsletter, but one of the subjects that we have only once delved into, are the various medical problems associated with the female reproductive system and childbirth.

In this WMND we will remedy that absence of information with a fairly complete review of the female reproductive system, anatomy, physiology, the menstrual cycle, and childbirth. In the next newsletter we will complete that body of knowledge with a review of the sexually transmitted diseases from around the world.

This is an area of medicine that is not unique to the wilderness or extended care environment, but there are many aspects of both leadership skills and providing emergency medical care that deserve special recognition.


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