Where do you turn if you are out in the backcountry and a medical emergency happens?  Do you know the up-to-date treatment protocols for the most common problems seen in the backcountry?  As residents, many of us learned to carry pocket cards or cheat sheets to help when the unexpected or rare event occurs when we just need a reminder about what to do next.

We have put together the Wilderness Medicine Reference Card for medical providers in the wilderness.  It is specifically designed for physicians and allied health professionals to use in a setting where you may have some of common medications carried in the backcountry or on treks as a expedition physician.  

The quad-fold card is printed on durable Tyvek.  You can stuff this in your backcountry medical kit and it will hold up to the wear and tear of rigorous travel.

The card is two-sided and contains reference material for the 15 most common medical emergencies, with pain management and sedation guidelines. 

The topics include:

1.  ATLS survey - primary and secondary

2.  Head injury management

3.  Neck, back and specific joint injuries

4.  Gastrointestinal disorders

5.  Anaphylaxis

6.  Rapid sequence intubation

7.  Pain management/Anesthesia for injuries.

8.  Hypothermia and Frostbite

9.  Heat injuries

10.  Animal bites/envenomation

11.  Altitude illness.


About the authors:

Jim Litch, MD  has been a Denali and Rainier climbing ranger, mountain guide, and high altitude climber with three 8000m summits including Everest. His practical experience in wilderness medicine has been extensive with more than 25 expeditions from the Alaska Range to the Antarctic. Dr. Litch has worked in the Himalaya for 5 years, and has published numerous high altitude and backcountry medicine articles. He is a board member of the International Society of Mountain Medicine (ISMM), and the US rep to the UIAA Medical Commission. Currently, Dr. Litch is working for the University of Washington and PATH in Washington State.

Michael Tuggy, MD is currently the program director for Swedish Family Medicine Residency- First Hill, Seattle.   Dr. Tuggy has published research in backcountry and telemark skiing injuries, altitude adaptation and illness, as well as studies with virtual reality training devices in Family Medicine.  He has been a member of the Mt. Baker Ski Patrol for the past 7 years.  He is an avid backcountry skier, hiker and backpacker.   Dr. Tuggy served as a board member of the Wilderness Medical Society for two years.

Pricing:  $3.00 (US), $4.50 (Canadian) - includes shipping and handling.    

Order 2-10 cards - only $2.50 (US) for each additional card after the first at full price.

Student group discount - If you order as a medical student group, the cost is only $2.00 each.

Overseas orders - please write so we can determine the best payment and shipping methods.

Ordering Information: 

You may send a check or money order to with your request for the number of cards you wish to order to:

Michael Tuggy, MD

1401 Madison, Suite 100

Seattle, WA 98104


Disclaimer:  This information is intended as reference material and should not replace clinical judgment or updated recommendations that may supersede those provided here.


2007 Michael Tuggy MD and Jim Litch MD