VERMILLION, S.D. -- Whether you’re an avid rock climber scaling mountainous terrain or putting together a camping trip with friends for a weekend in the Black Hills, consulting www.expeditiondoc.com before you leave isn’t a bad idea.
ExpeditionDoc.com, the brainchild of Paul Tschetter, serves as a guide for persons with little or no medical knowledge and provides access to evidence-based wilderness medical advice. Tschetter, a fourth-year medical student at the Sanford School of Medicine of The University of South Dakota, developed the Web site as part of a Scholarship Pathways Project, an elective program for med students to design a project of their own in the area of education, research or community service. He came up with the idea after merging two of his passions – becoming a doctor and a love of the outdoors.
“In merging these two passions of mine, I hope to be able to provide scientific-evidence based advice for outdoor enthusiasts,” said Tschetter, who will be working as an emergency medicine resident next year. “Wilderness medicine as a medical specialty has been developing as a result not only to treat but to educate outdoor enthusiasts on evidence-based prevention and treatment of injuries.”
ExpeditionDoc.com includes scholarly citations from textbooks written by authors considered to be experts in their fields. Additionally, it includes several different media formats, including photos, videos and blogs, for identifying proper treatment recommendations for everything from burns and wounds to recognizing fractures and dislocations. While its purpose is to help with injuries serious and small, ExpeditionDoc.com is also a preventive resource providing information on what to store in a first aid kit – both basic and comprehensive – before you leave for a trip into the wild. There are also guided photos and videos on how to properly wrap or splint hand injuries; shoulder and knee immobilization techniques, and ankle taping.
“The challenge of wilderness medicine is to sustain high quality medical care, with limited resources, while being exposed to the elements, for hours or even days until transport to a hospital or clinic is possible,” added Tschetter, a Sioux Falls, S.D. native. “The Web site itself is closely tied in with Facebook, too, which allows for greater exposure and provides a way we can distribute updates.”