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April 1, 2020
Extended Care in Mountain Medicine (and Pandemics) …..
July 22, 2020

The Mountain Medicine Hui that never was – but hopefully will be…..

The Mountain Medicine Hui at Aorkai Mt Cook was scheduled to be held 22-24 May. Participants’ numbers were limited to 24 and within 2 weeks of launching it, half of those places were booked. Then New Zealand went into lockdown due to COVID-19 and naturally we had to cancel the event.

The scenarios and the rest of the program was shaping up nicely and I’d like to give a shout out to those individuals and organisations that had promised to help out.

I hope this gives you a flavour of what would kind of experience the scenarios of the Hui would have been and what will hopefully happen sometime in the future.

To those members of the Society who had already booked leave from work to help out with the running of the weekend and with the scenarios and skill stations massive “Thank you!” Your support is hugely valued and we hope that in the future we will be able to put your enthusiasm and passion to good use.  Right now we just wish you all to stay safe from COVID-19.

Thank you to the following:

Simon and Pip, hut wardens at the Unwin Lodge , you have been great helping Robin and myself with organising the rental of the village hall and accommodation for the Hui. Your enthusiasm and support is much appreciated and we wish you all the best for the lockdown.

Chris Russell at MedXus  was going to lend us  some T Pod Pelvic binders

Chris has been very supportive in the past, lending me a LifePak defib for SHAC  ( Southern Hemisphere Alpine Conference) 2017 and a LUCAS mCPR for SHAC 2019.

Teresa Rosallini at  Pharmaco were going to lend us  some SAM pelvic slings

Teresa’s   predecessor, Marg, was also really helpful lending me tourniquets and SAM pelvic slings for the SHAC 2017 avalanche rescue scenario and was always happy to chat.

Jim Floerchinger, the  Celox guy in New Zealand,   Celox NZ     had already booked his flights from North Island with his wound-packing trainer and heamostatic agent for us to practice with. He is super enthusiastic to share his knowledge and training. He also told me that business is currently doing well since NZ Police have added Celox to their kit.

Owner Simon Ritson and operations manager Steph Davies  of  Prac Med     were highly supportive of the Hui  and were most likely going to attend, not only with the massive bleeding tourniquet trainer, but also with Blizzard products. Prac Med are now the NZ distributors of the Blizzard hypothermia prevention products, which I’ve written a lot about on  my hypothermia & avalanche website

So, by now you might have guessed there was going to be lots of fake blood in our scenarios and skill stations!

Our moulage “Simsleeves”  were going to be rented from the very kind and helpful Nicole Heydenrijk and her awesome company  MedicFx

Our casualties would most definitely have been in pain ( simualted pain). Thanks to Alison Field of Douglas Pharamceuticals we  have kindly had  half a dozen Penthrox ( methoxyflurane / green whistle) training units donated. They are sure to be making an appearnce next time. I think Robin is planning a blog entry  for the website on painrelief  in the near future.

Our scenario  comms were going to be provided by Owen Walton of  Walkie Talkie NZ   he was giving us a special discounted  “mates rates” due to being a not for profit and because he is highly supportive of mountain  recreational activities.

Trevor Hunter of Laerdal was going to be lending us  a variety of mannequins and bag and  mask ventilators.

Andrew Gutsell of Mount Cook ski planes and helicopters most kindly got in touch and offered us the use of an aricraft for use in our scenarios  – which would have been fabolous and hopefully might still be possible for when the Hui happens sometime in the future- and also  generously  offered discounted scenic glacier flights to Hui participants. Do click on the link in the first sentence of this paragraph , there is an awesome video of a flight, it makes you feel as if you are  actually there!

Our catering was going to be done by Troy and his team at Shawtys and hopefully that wil stil be the case for when the Hui happens, sometime in the future.

Thank you also to Scott  Kelland  and  Regan Davey, fourth year medical students at Otago University (Christchurch) who were recruiting their friends and colleagues to become simulated patients for the scenarios. They were looking forward to getting cold, wet and covered in fake blood but also being expertly rescued.

Thank you to all of you who offered to help, I wish you all be safe during lockdown and that your businesses, many quite small, may weather the financial storm.


Those who booked for the Hui were asked what they wanted to learn, or get out of it, and these are some of the replies:

“Provide encouragment  to mountain industry to continue to have better access to advanced life saving medical interventions”

“Catch up with industry, find out what is happening with PHEC and paramedic registration in outdoor space”

“Keen to get a better grasp of outdoor first aid for our family  hunting and tramping trips where we may be stuck in a remote area for many hours without assistance”

“Refresh PHEC skills in a more mountain environemnt (rather than classroom or imagination) “

“Consolidation of skills that will be useful while out in the moutnains or down a river.Share with my response teams to continue learning”

“Experience “real world” scenarios”

“Learn lots and meet people”

“Update practical skills relevant to environemnet”

“Meeting and learning from likeminded people”

A number of people wanted to find out more about possible career opportunities  in “wilderness medicine” or “expedition medicine”   and some also mentioned that they wanted to become more confident in patient management  in an out of hospital environement as part of their medical/ paramedical  practice.

Quite a few also mentioned  specific practical skills: Bag & mask ventilation , oxygen administration , immobilising and transporting spinal injuries, fractured femur, hypothermia, tension pneumothorax, burns,TBI, wound care, extrication – almost all of which we were palnning to cover, so that was encouraging.


At present we are intending to run a virtual hui on the same weekend (22-24 May) possibly  via Zoom. The details are yet to be worked out but we will keep you in the loop. We would welcome some ideas for topics for the virtual hui

Cheers for now, Happy Easter and stay safe,


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