Hornchurch GP to switch surgery for Himalayan mountains to treat trekkers
18:00 16 August 2014
A doctor has decided to ditch the comforts of his Romford surgery to treat trekkers in the Himalayan mountains.
Dr Ian Quigley, 49, of Hornchurch, will be braving high altitudes to help adventurers and local people suffering from altitude sickness for three months in Nepal.
The GP, who works at Western Road Medical Centre, will be joined by his wife Tracy, a nurse at the practice, while treating patients on behalf of the Himalayan Rescue Association.
Dr Quigley, a keen trekker, wants to help those suffering with – and raise awareness of – the symptoms of altitude sickness.
The doctor, who once climbed Kilimanjaro in Tanzania with his wife, said: “It’s a major problem for trekkers as people tend to ascend quite quickly.”
He added: “I think that people are quite physically prepared but they’re less prepared for the risks of altitude.”
Symptoms of altitude sickness can include anything from nausea, dizziness and exhaustion to a loss of consciousness, bubbling sounds in the chest and coughing up pink frothy liquid.
Dr Quigley said: “I have done treks before and I have experienced altitude illness myself. The biggest challenge will be spending such a long time at high altitude.”
Trekkers fund the rescue charity, which allows the doctors to provide free health care to local people affected by high altitude.
“About a third of patients will be trekkers and about two thirds will be local people who need our help,” added Dr Quigley.
A training course three years ago inspired him to want to help those living in harsh environments and practise medicine away from the comfort of the NHS.
“The appeal for me is to be able to practise medicine in a remote environment away from the normality of Romford – it’s a purer kind of medicine – and I love the great outdoors, I love the physical exertion and I like being out in the mountains.”