Base camp is growing by the day, and we’ve seen 101 patients in the clinic so far. As climbers advance to higher camps, we expect to see more. Holding with our experience (and mission!) 61 (60%) of our patients have been Nepali. Also as in past years, our most common presentations have been related to upper respiratory problems- viral respiratory infections, high altitude cough, sore throats. We saw one patient with snow blindness (it happens easily up here, especially after snow, when sunlight reflects from every direction.)
Most of our community are adept at acclimatizing to altitude, but even so, we see the occasional new arrival and/or trekker who doesn’t quite keep up with the demands that hypoxia puts on the body. We’ve treated 2 cases of acute mountain sickness, 2 cases of high altitude pulmonary edema, and 1 case of high altitude cerebral edema. One patient was caught out on a very windy day and suffered superficial frostbite that is responding to treatment. We’ve had to urgently evacuate 4 patients to lower altitude and further care, and some have been able to get down to recover on their own.
Sunset from the Everest ER. Photo credit: Meg Walmsley