True North Blog

Wilderness Isn’t Always What You Think

If your were to ask someone what is “wilderness,” then they most likely would give you a definition that includes such features as mountains, rivers, and trees located miles and miles from the nearest town.  But “wilderness” has a far wider scope that surprises most people.

Wilderness is typically defined as one or more hours from definitive medical care — that is, a hospital Emergency Department.  While this definition certainly fits remote arctic, desert, and ocean environments, among others, it also applies to more urban settings as well.

Wilderness BWilderness, then, can also apply to a “resource poor” environment.  This could be some typical third-world city, like Port-au-Prince, Haiti; a medical emergency on an airplane flying at 30,000 feet; or even an American city that has been overwhelmed by a natural disaster.  As a consequence, “wilderness” could even apply to that ED in that same overwhelmed city.  If the hospital has no power, and patients and staff alike are forced to wade through hip-deep water with medical supplies floating around, then it is not much different than an isolated mountain top.

This is what Leslie Brooks discovered when Hurricane Sandy last year ravaged her hometown of Brooklyn, New York, and the rest of the metropolitan region.

Leslie writes about her experience in the May 2013 edition of Wilderness Medicine, a journal published by the Wilderness Medical Society.  I think it is really good, so I am sharing her article:

Hurricane Sandy: Urban Wilderness Medicine

If you have any questions or comments, True North would definitely appreciate you sharing them on its Facebook page.

Erik Kulick leaning aginst wall with True North badge on blue shirt

About the Author

Erik is the founder of True North Wilderness Survival School. He is a police officer, EMS provider, a Wilderness EMT, and a Fellow of the Academy of Wilderness Medicine. He has been featured in national and international media, including CNN, the Associated Press, and Backpacker. To learn more about Erik, visit him on LinkedIn and be sure to follow him on Facebook and YouTube.

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