Prehospital Care and Helicopter Retrieval in the Mountains of Bhutan
Charlie Mize discusses critical care and medical evacuation in the mountains of Bhutan. Charlie talks about his essential role in the modernisation of resuscitation and pre-hospital care in the country.
In this talk, we will explore the challenges inherent in the creation of helicopter critical care retrieval teams in a low-income setting, how we met those challenges and how we succeeded in creating a locally run, financially sustainable team. We will discuss the difficulties of pre-hospital critical care in the austere mountains of the eastern Himalaya and in the remote villages of Bhutan and why critical care medevac is essential to save rural Bhutanese lives. In addition to an exploration of our work in critical care retrieval, we will also describe our strategies for mapping the country’s health facilities and our high-altitude expeditions to create helicopter landing sites to enable safer mountain rescue.
Charlie Mize is a leading expert on the retrieval of critically ill and injured patients from austere environments at high-altitude. He is the founder and head of Bhutan Emergency Aeromedical Retrieval (BEAR), the Kingdom of Bhutan’s pre-hospital helicopter critical care team, as well as the head of Bhutan Mountain Rescue and the Director of Resuscitation for Bhutan’s only major tertiary referral centre, the Jigme Dorji Wangchuck National Referral Hospital.
He is a co-founding member of BearBadger, a physician-led team that undertakes high-risk patient retrieval and expeditionary medicine. He and his team have pulled broken yak herders from cliffs in the eastern Himalaya, have led mountain mapping expeditions sponsored by the Red Cross and World Health Organization, and have trained and established trauma medevac for militaries in different parts of the globe.
He will share some of the experiences he’s had while attempting to save lives in some of the most remote parts of the Himalaya.