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Wilderness Medicine Course
for Physicians & Medical Professionals (CME)
in Patagonia, Chile

Why Patagonia?

Patagonia, Chile is an unparalleled outdoor classroom to teach practical and applied wilderness medicine skills. Not only is Patagonia one of the last frontiers of untouched remote wilderness on earth, it is a convergence of world class whitewater, mountains and ecology. Wilderness MedVentures believes Patagonia has the potential to attract a large number of physicians eager to experience pristine wilderness while gaining hands-on experience in wilderness medicine. Dr. Kevin McGarvey, one of the emergency physician instructors, has already done 6-weeks of University funded research in the Futaleufu Valley, working closely with Expediciones Chile’s owner and guides to create an optimal teaching environment.

Course Themes

• Preparation: To illustrate the risks apparent within specific wilderness settings and adventure activities and how to properly prepare and prevent those risks from creating medical emergencies.
• Application: To empower physicians with the basic knowledge and skills necessary to management medical emergencies in the wilderness setting.
• Improvisation: To challenge physicians to use creative, team-oriented means of treatment, stabilization, and transport in harsh environments with limited resources.
• Decision-Making: To learn how to assess and act in difficult clinical scenarios in remote wilderness settings where solutions are not always clear-cut.

Course Instruct
ion led by:

Wilderness MedVentures with

Continuous Medical Education (CME) Accreditation for Physicians through University of

Planned Course Itinerary:

*Some shifts or changes to the itinerary may occur due to weather, group size, or other factors occurring during the week of the course.

Saturday / Day 1: Futaleufu Arrival
We will arrive at the the pristine river camp, Campo Tres Monjas, ideally located at the confluence of the Rio Azul and Futaleufu, the perfect put-in and/or take-out for the exciting Class V river runs. The three clustered, volcanic spires known as “Las Tres Monjas” (Three Nuns Peak)stand guard over your camp surrounded only by mountains, farms and rivers. Surrounded by nature, this is truly refined camping. Your private, riverside tent is hidden down a soft foot path. In camp there are white sand beaches with hammocks for relaxing, a dining cabin with sit-down dining, a chef to prepare each meal, a fresh spring water system, open air hot showers, a sauna, a masseuse to soothe your tired muscles, and a bamboo outhouse with a spectacular view. That evening, we’ll have the first of many exquisite Chilean dinners at the Camp, freshly prepared by the course’s personal gourmet chef. Your instructors will give informal opening lectures and present the week’s itinerary and course objectives.

Principles of Wilderness Medicine
Law and Ethics in Wilderness Medicine
Survival Leadership and Decision-Making in the Wilderness

Sunday / Day 2: Whitewater Rafting – Bridge to El Macal
This morning we will begin our running of Rio Futaleufu. After breakfast, we will drive to the exciting whitewater rafting on Bridge to McCall, a section of the Futaleufu with class 4 and class 5 rapids. These rapids are more challenging than anything being run in North America! This rafting run begins with the adrenaline charged Bridge to Bridge section, which includes 6 to 7 miles of continuous class 4 rapids. At the end of the Bridge to Bridge section, however, we'll raft to where the river picks up energy as the canyon walls turn into vertical cliffs and huge glacier crowned peaks rise above. After a riverside lunch, the serious excitement begins as we find Más o Menos (Class IV+) and our first authentic Class V rapid of this raft trip, Casa de Piedra. After completing the lectures for the day, there will be time to unwind and relax either on the beach, in the sauna, with a massage or simply reading a book. Dinner will be served and then you will retire to your tents to rest up for the big several days ahead.

Simulation: Gastroenteritis and Dehydration
Heat Illness and Dehydration
Overview of Infectious Disease in Adventure Travel
General Field Sanitation and Hygiene Measures
Children and Elderly in the Wilderness
Wilderness Medical Kits
Basic Field Dentistry

Monday / Day 3: Whitewater Rafting – Inferno Canyon
Today, we will face a potentially big day on the river, Inferno Canyon! Based on how the group has performed the previous day and how high the river is running, we will attempt to run Inferno Canyon! This is the most demanding and committing section of the Futaleufu. We put-in at the bridge on the Río Espolón and soon meet the confluence with the Río Futaleufu. As we pass the ominous Gates of Inferno, the point of no return, the fun immediately begins with several serious and continuous class 5 drops. As we exit the canyon, the river widens with spectacular views of the Las Escalas Valley. After six miles of moving, gentle productive water, the river returns to its wild side and we encounter the "Zeta" and "Throne Room," two of the most ferocious rapids on the Futa, which even the whitewater rafters will portage while we enjoy lunch. You’ll return to Campo by rafting through the Wild Mile and finish with a relaxing sauna or massage followed with evening lectures and dinner.

Simulation: Shoulder Dislocation and Laceration
General Wound Management in The Wilderness
Improvised Field Wound Management
Burn Management in the Wilderness
Overview of Field Management of General Orthopedics
Improvised Splints, Litters and Carrie

Tuesday / Day 4: Whitewater rafting – Terminator section
With our rafts still tied up on shore at Campo, we will be ready to cover the final section of the Futaleufu! We put in at the confluence of the Futa and the Río Azul and enjoy a warm up on a beautiful stretch of river that winds around the Tres Monjas peaks. Then, the river takes on an extremely powerful nature, with the longest and largest rapid on the Futa, the 'Terminator' (Class V). Just below, we'll have to negotiate the hole filled Kyber Pass (Class IV+) and the Himalayas (Class IV), with perhaps the biggest standing waves in the hemisphere! We can then relax our paddling muscles with a nice riverside lunch. That night, everyone will pack up and prepare to head back toward town to enter the vertical part of the course!

Simulation: Near-Drowning and Hypothermia of a Rafter
Simulation: Whitewater Rescue
Whitewater Injuries and Rescue
Near-Drowning and Immersion
Recognition and Management of Hypothermia
Overview of Cold Injury
Wilderness Survival
Overview of Survival Kits
Medicinal Plants

Wednesday / Day 5: High Mountain Trekking – La Teta

For those yearning for more adventure and exploration, we now enter into the rock and ice world for the remainder of the course! After breakfast, we will be transported to the base of a spectacular two day climb of La Teta. Pack horses will haul our gear and food as we ascend up the Futaleufu valley. We will get to basecamp likely 1-2 hours after our guides and pack horses have arrived, allowing for tents and food to be ready and waiting upon arrival.

Simulation: Anaphylaxis in a Hiker from a Bee Sting
Allergic Reactions and Anaphylaxis
Emergency Airways in the Wilderness
Insect Bites/Stings and Plant Toxins

Thursday / Day 6: High Mountain Trekking – La Teta

Those feeling fit for the ascent of La Teta trek onward and summit by mid-morning. Those reaching the summit will be rewarded with a 360 degree view of the Andes extending far into Chile and into Argentina! After a rigorous day, you will return to camp for several evening lectures and dinner with your family.

Simulation: Altered Mental Status at Altitude
Injuries from Climbing
High Altitude Physiology
Altitude Sickness

Friday / Day 7: Canyoneering – Canyon Gelves

Our final day outdoors will be a vertical adventure into the spectacular Canyon Gelves. Located only 3 miles from our lodge in town, we will find views dropping 500 meters to the beautiful canyon floor. The largest single drop, accessible only to experienced canyoners, is 45 meters (148 ft). Based on participants’ fitness and experience, we will offer two options - descent through a 30 foot waterfall or a rappel through 4 waterfalls, totaling over 300 feet! Afterward we will return to town to relax for the evening and finish the night with a grand fiesta!

Simulation: A Cayoneering Fall with Spine and Femur Fracture
Management of the Head Injury in the Wilderness
Management of the Spine Injury in the Wilderness
Wilderness Trauma
Wilderness Rescue for the Backcountry Traveler

Saturday / Day 8: Departure
After 7 days of intense wilderness medicine coursework, you will have a day to explore Futaleufu and decide what you’d like to do next. With your formal itinerary complete, there will be a number of options open to you as well as any friends or family joining you. If you are planning to return home or to Buenos Aires immediately after the wilderness medicine course, you will depart from Futaleufu by private shuttle this morning and take the Friday flight from Bariloche to Buenos Aires.

Core Learning Objectives:

1. Before the course begins, attendees will read a select group of texts from the wilderness medicine literature.

2. Attendees will complete a pretest before their arrival, to reinforce the core knowledge and themes in the pre-course readings.

3. Attendees will incorporate core wilderness medicine knowledge during daily didactic lectures.

4. Attendees will apply their medical knowledge and training to wilderness and remote situations.

5. Attendees will be able to recognize and treat common medical emergencies in adventure settings, including high altitude, water sports, and high-angle situations.

6. Attendees will be able to create and carry appropriate medical kits based on various wilderness or adventure activities.

7. Attendees will be able to improvise medical supplies from environmental components.

8. Attendees will be able to apply the ethical and pragmatic indications for emergent evacuation.

9. Attendees will be able to undertake emergent evacuations in various situations.

10. Attendees will be able to synthesize all the above components to function as a group medical director for wilderness or adventure sport situations.

Course Instruction led by:
Wilderness MedVentures   Continuous Medical Education (CME) Accreditation for Physicians through University of

Wilderness Medicine Course Home:
Wilderness Medicine Course Instructors , Wilderness Medicine Course Curriculum , Wilderness Medicine CME Hours & Exam

Season: Dec 6 to April 15
Experience Needed: Previous medical experience required.
Physical Challenge: Moderate/High
Cultural Experience: Moderate
Lodging: Luxury Eco-Camp
Comfort Rating:  Medium
Days away from home: 10
Days with us: 8
Max Trip Size: 12
Price: $ 3750 USD ***Philanthropic Donation by ExChile and Wilderness MedVentures. Eight Percent of all payments for the Wilderness Medicine Course shall be reserved for donation to a local not-for-profit entity that will benefit the Futaleufu, Chile community.***
Region: Futaleufu River Valley, Patagonia Chile
Lakes, Rivers, Sites Visited:Pacific Ocean, Chaiten, Futaleufu Village, Campo Tres Monjas, Rio Futaleufu, Rio Azul, Rio Espolon
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