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Mountain Rescue Doctor: Wilderness Medicine in the Extremes of Nature Hardcover – November 13, 2007


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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 304 pages
  • Publisher: St. Martin's Press; First Edition edition (November 13, 2007)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0312358873
  • ISBN-13: 978-0312358877
  • Product Dimensions: 6.1 x 1.2 x 8.1 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 14.4 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (28 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,599,958 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

A resident of Hood River, Ore., an emergency room physician and a member of Crag Rats (the first official volunteer mountain rescue group in the nation), Van Tilburg (Emergency Survival: A Pocket Guide) has divided his fast-paced account of Mt. Hood rescues by season. In the winter, he explains the dangers of tree wells, patches of loose snow that can snare skiers and snowboarders. One hot Fourth of July, he takes a trek through icy black water in a box canyon, engineering the tricky retrieval of a cliff jumper with a back fracture. Detailing each rescue operation from the first call mobilizing teams of volunteers to grateful notes from the families of those rescued, Van Tilburg also offers snippets of environmental history and outdoor law. For readers who are unfamiliar with the rugged and beautiful Hood River area, he balances its undeniable perils with the joys of its scenic wonders, noting that the thrill of risk is an inseparable aspect of adventure sport. 8 pages of color photos not seen by PW. (Nov. 13)
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

Review

“A fast-paced account of Mt. Hood. For readers who are unfamiliar with the rugged and beautiful Hood River area, [Van Tilburg] balances its undeniable perils with the joys of its scenic wonders . . .”

--Publisher’s Weekly

“Van Tilburg’s dogged spadework in translating to the page the intricate essentials of his unique trade makes each breathtaking rescue literally come to life. Exhilarating take on the daily life of a unique brand of doctor.”

--Kirkus

“As a medical doctor, a previously published author (Backcountry Snowboarding; Introducing Your Kids to the Outdoors), and an adventure-sports devotee himself, Van Tilburg is uniquely qualified to describe the fears, excitement, frustration, and rewards of these searches. He examines the high costs of search-and-rescue operations and provides an interesting overview of the debate on whether victims should be held responsible for some of these costs. Young adults will likely enjoy this introduction to the field of wilderness medicine. Filled with adventure and good advice.”

--Library Journal

"Outdoors folk in Oregon have long benefited from Dr. Chris Van Tilburg’s skills as an emergency doctor and his selfless devotion to rescuing injured hikers and climbers as a volunteer for his local mountain rescue service. Now his other great skill--as a writer--has brought these exciting tales to the country at large. Chris captures the excitement of a rescue with the passion of a true mountaineer, and does so in highly readable prose."

--John Harlin III, Editor of The American Alpine Journal and author of The Eiger Obsession, Mount Rainier and  The Climber's Guide to North America


More About the Author

That me, in the blue coat. If you read Mountain Rescue Doctor, you might remember the Coda in which I describe a midnight rescue mission in the middle of a blizzard on Oregon's Mount Hood. We're using the Mountain Locator Unit to search for a group of missing climbers.

So, yes, when my mountain rescue beeper goes off, the call may take me racing up a mountain peak to rescue an injured hiker, scaling a rocky ledge to intubate a hiker who has fallen over a cliff, into a blizzard to search for missing skiers, or to a mountain airplane crash scene for body recovery with my team, Hood River Crag Rats, the oldest mountain rescue group in the nation.

But, I also have a day job: I work as a author, consultant and physician in wilderness and travel medicine. In addition to clinic work, I've written for National Geographic Adventure and other magazines and I edit Wilderness Medicine magazine.

Check out more photos at christophervantilburg.com where you can also find links to my blog and facebook pages.

Customer Reviews

I read it before bed and had a hard time putting it down.
Sylvia Stevenson
The harrowing accounts of rescue in a multitude of environments leaves the reader captivated throughout the story.
Andrew Stempel
Dr. Van Tilburg's book is an account of rescues the group has made.
Margaret Davis

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

9 of 9 people found the following review helpful By 2WX: The Two-Wheeled Explorer on November 25, 2007
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
There is a human side to rescue in the backcountry, and Dr. Van Tilberg tells that story very well. From the effect of our SAR missions on our loved ones, to dealing with the emotions that flood a rescuer, particularly when you get "off the mountain" or "out of the woods". He also throws some very good information about wilderness medical techniques, without being overly technical or distracting. I read it straight through, and now it sits on my wilderness medical bookshelf, right next to "Doctor on Everest". I will be recommending it to my next Wilderness First Aid class in January.
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful By Mark Nykanen on November 27, 2007
Format: Hardcover
Van Tilburg's account of rescues on Mt. Hood will hook you early and keep you up late. His account of the heroism and humanism of the Crag Rats is unforgettable. You got to thank men and women like him for the courageous work they do. Kudos to Van Tilburg for bringing us their -- and his -- stories.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By Deb Kingsbury on June 4, 2009
Format: Paperback
Imagine sticking a breathing tube down someone's throat. And imagine having to do that without accidentally inserting the tube into the person's esophogus or breaking the patient's teeth. Then imagine doing this while kneeling on sharp rocks while perched on a narrow ledge, as a hovering rescue helicopter sprays you and your patient with dirt and debris. That's what Dr. Christopher Van Tillburg had to do during one of the many wilderness Search & Rescue missions he's been on as a member of the Crag Rats, the oldest SAR team in the U.S.

As a Search & Rescue volunteer myself, I'm hooked on true stories about wilderness rescue and survival, written by both rescuers and those they help, or by those who made it out of difficult situations on their own. Having read many, this one is still near the top of my list of favorites. My only disappointment when I finished the book was that, in certain cases, I was left wondering what happened to some of the victims Dr. Tillman had worked so hard to save. Did they survive? Then I happened across a blog post by the author, in which he states, "Yes, several chapters don't really say what happens to the patient. That's part of the deal with mountain rescue missions: we hand off the patients to a helicopter or ground ambulance crew and sometimes we never find out the end result." As any member of a SAR unit knows, that statement is very true. The last we sometimes see or hear of a patient is when they're whisked into the sky in a litter, spinning at the end of a 200-foot rope.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Paul Auerbach on September 4, 2008
Format: Hardcover
Wilderness medicine is the art and science of practicing medicine in unpredictable and sometimes extremely harsh environments, as found in the mountains at high altitude, at sea during expeditions to remote reefs or under the harsh sun of an equatorial desert. It is not for the faint of heart and requires a willingness to endure isolation, limited resources and physical and emotional hardship.

Most tales of search, rescue and wilderness medicine begin with an account of how the victims got into trouble. Sometimes they venture into inclement weather without having thought about how to prepare a shelter or what to do if they become injured or lost. Sometimes it's just plain bad luck, as the forces of nature conspire to produce an unanticipated storm or avalanche.

Christopher Van Tilburg, M.D. offers a collection of tales about mountain rescue in Oregon, where he is a member of the Hood River Crag Rats, reputed to be the oldest mountain rescue team in the United States. As an emergency physician and an expert in many aspects of wilderness medicine, he is well qualified to be part of such a team; as a skilled writer, he engages, informs and entertains the reader.

Van Tilburg's stories are highly personal, each describing the setting and events of an actual rescue. In river parlance, that is the main run - but as anyone knows who has floated the Colorado River within the Grand Canyon, there is much to be learned from the side hikes. Brief literary forays are scattered throughout Mountain Rescue Doctor as Van Tilburg shares his thoughts on what it means to be a physician, how he became an aficionado of wilderness medicine and how he depersonalizes rescue situations.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By D. Campbell on January 5, 2009
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
This book provides an honest description of how SAR calls are organized and carried out. Essential reading for any wilderness first responder and outdoor enthusiast, because it unveils the reality of wilderness rescues. Well written using easily understandable language and concepts. Helps bridge the gap between first responder and trained rescuer without being a "how to" guide.

A great read, exciting action, the author's style holds your interest.
I will absolutely make it part of my mountaineering oriented first aid classes!
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Too many books! on September 4, 2008
Format: Hardcover
As an EMS volunteer, I've participated in a few rescues myself, but none as difficult or dangerous as described in this book. Van Tilberg's stories make for compulsive reading. He does an excellent job of explaining the difficult thought processes behind the amazing number and variety of life-and-death decisions that rescuers must make on every mission. This is a worthwhile and exciting read.
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