Thursday, 15 January 2009, 8:00pm
At the foot of Mount Everest, a climber at death’s door comes into the base camp clinic. Can the doctors save his life and fly him out? As the Everest summit season gets underway, climbers are exposed to a lethal range of high altitude illnesses, trauma and frostbite, and the world’s highest clinic gets busier and busier.
This gripping series follows a team of doctors, treating patients including everyone from the elite of the world’s climbing communities, frostbitten and dying from pulmonary oedema, to holiday trekkers with altitude sickness, and local children suffering from all the illnesses you might expect to find in one of the world’s poorest countries.
These volunteers must make life and death decisions on a daily basis, a world away from the facilities of a modern hospital. Evacuation from this altitude is either a two-day walk on the back of a porter or an expensive and dangerous helicopter ride.
Further up the valley, on the Khumbu Glacier itself, sits the Everest base camp clinic. Everest’s magnetism is now such that in the peak climbing season, base camp can be home to thousands of people. And at this altitude, getting sick is a very serious business.
This gripping series follows the lives of these doctors over the course of one Everest season. When the clinic opens early spring, there are queues of local people waiting to be treated. And as the season progresses, the big expeditions roll in – the world’s best climbers, the rich businessmen paying to be guided to the top and the hordes of trekkers slogging up the valley to worship at the feet of the world’s most spectacular mountain.