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Book and Media Reviews
October 21, 2009

Medicine for the Outdoors: Essential Guide to First Aid and Medical Emergencies

JAMA. 2009;302(15):1705-1706. doi:10.1001/jama.2009.1519

An evaluation of Medicine for the Outdoors raises one of the core questions facing those teaching medicine through classes or written instructional material; ie, what level of medical information should be presented for the target audience? Writing for other physician specialists is easier than teaching the public or persons with a little medical knowledge, unless that teaching is part of a well-defined curriculum. Because of knowledge differences among students, they desire and need a foundation of knowledge that provides selective diagnostic and therapeutic information. This dilemma is amplified when teaching first aid or medical evaluation performed distant from a traditional medical setting, so the common default advice is to “seek professional or more advanced medical care.” Another layer of complexity is added when targeting persons who may be in the wilderness without means of rapid evacuation or rescue, necessitating prolonged field management or decisions of whether to arrange evacuation or continue with the trip. Auerbach does not shirk these challenges.