UCSF Fresno training med students in wilderness medicine this week

FRESNO, Calif. (KFSN) -- A fake burned leg was treated by a group of medical students during a scenario at UCSF Fresno today.

It's part of the school's two week wilderness medicine training program.

Derek Meyer played the part of a hiker mauled by a vicious bear in a nearby national park. But he's also one of two wilderness medicine fellows teaching the program.

"We're training them really good, somewhat advanced skills that they can carry on into the future if they ever want to lead a group out into the wilderness or if they want to advocate for more training, etc. that they'll have the basic abc's of wilderness trauma under their belt, that they'll be able to improvise out in the field," Meyer said.

"They learn how to make decisions in the backcountry that are actually much more difficult to make in that setting than they would be when you're in a hospital," said UCSF Fresno's Dr. Susanne Spano, who directs the wilderness medicine program.

That's why Dr. Spano will lead the group in more hands-on training in Yosemite next week. These students are taught to stick in groups. She says hikers, no matter their experience level, should do the same. The common denominator she sees with recent hikers that have gone missing is that they're alone.

"And that really compounds a really horrible situation into a near fatal situation sometimes, so it's a real good piece of advice is to always have someone with you," Spano said.

Or at least tell someone what your plan is, and don't forget to bring a first aid kit. Meyer recommends making a checklist, and having an idea of when to call it quits.

"Take a few days before a big trip and really have some self-reflection," Meyer said. "Are you prepared for the trip? Are you physically fit enough? Have you acclimated to the heat or cold? Have you done enough research? Does everyone know where you're going and what your plan is? Do you have a healthy medical kit? Do you know how to use everything appropriately?"

"In the event that you do everything perfectly but some misfortune occurs, we're here to help train folks who are going to be the first responders as well as the folks here in the hospital who are going to be the back end of things," he said.

And that's a comforting thought for anyone exploring the natural beauty in our backyard.

Dr. Suzanne Spano's Simple First Aid Kit:
Safety Pins
Medications (Tylenol, Benadryl, Imodium)

Dr. Suzanne Spano's Survival Kit:
Foil wrap (for shelter)
Whistle or mirror
Maps & Compass
Water purification
Extra food
Extra clothing and sunglasses
First Aid Kit
Flashlight, batteries
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