Domhnall MacAuley is a CMAJ Associate Editor and a professor of primary care in Northern Ireland, UK.
A normal day for Dr. Pierre Pili may involve being helicoptered up to a glacier in the Alps, and then lowered by cable 30m down into a crevasse to assess and treat casualties. Few of us see patients in such a difficult and unforgiving environment but this is Pili’s consulting room. A mountain rescue doctor based in Chamonix, he is involved in about 1500 rescues per year, and when not on the mountain, he works as an emergency medicine doctor.
On his first rescue he was called to help two skiers who had fallen deep into an Alpine crevasse. One was dead and one was seriously injured. Pili talks about the mixed fear and excitement of doing this work ...continue reading