MedCom to discuss Everest deaths, mountain medicine

Mountain Medicine

The UIAA Medical Commission will tackle an array of topics at its meeting in Nepal from November 15 to 17.

The talks will range from a review of deaths on Everest climbs to a discussion of care for altitude sickness.

The commission, a panel of doctors from around the globe who specialise in mountain medicine, participates in research on and promotes education about health-related issues in mountaineering.

Dr. Buddha Basnyat, president of the UIAA Medical Commission, says a number of the discussions will focus on getting word out on commission data and programmes that can ultimately help keep climbers safe. This is certainly the aim of the review of Mt. Everest deaths, Basnyat said. He hopes, “that people are aware and use preventive measures based on the lessons learned.”

In addition to Everest, the commission will address care for people working at high altitude locales, safer routes on Mt. Kilimanjaro and deaths among pilgrims to high altitude religious sites.

The commission will also focus on its programmes that provide services to mountaineers: the consensus papers on medical topics available on the UIAA website and the UIAA’s Diploma in Mountain Medicine courses. The doctors will work on clarifying some consensus papers and talk about promoting all of them. The papers provide information on topics ranging from water disinfection to safety for children at high altitude.

For the Diploma in Mountain Medicine courses, the UIAA collaborates with other organisations to provide doctors three different levels of training to teach them about medicine in the mountains. So far, six universities offer the courses. The UIAA Medical Commission hopes to work on further awareness of the programme.