In late January I had the opportunity to complete the winter semester of University of New Mexico’s Diploma in Mountain Medicine, offered through their International Mountain Medicine Center. This is an intense program designed to offer the highest level of mountain medicine and rescue skills and is open to physicians, mid levels, nurses, and paramedics and is internationally accredited through ICAR, UIAA, and ISMM. The program consists of 200 hours of both online and practical sessions and is world class.
I flew into Albuquerque late Friday night and early Saturday morning I met up with the eleven other students in my class, a diverse set of physicians from across the country. Saturday morning we met on the UNM campus where we were tested on knots and had our gear inspected. Following some didactics we headed outside where we tested climbing gear and recorded failure forces on carabiners, ropes, prusiks, etc. From there we headed into the Sandia foothills for field airway lectures followed by education on using a Stokes litter. After a brutal patient scenario using the Stokes off trail through the cholla and prickly pears it was on to an end of the day gathering at the UNM Emergency Department Chair’s house.