Meet Dr. Grant Lipman
Grant Lipman MD was trained as an Emergency Medicine physician before being accepted to Stanford University School of Medicine's Wilderness Medicine Fellowship. Today, he serves as the director of the program.
He was drawn to the dynamic nature of emergency medicine, never knowing who was going to come through the door, what their story would be, and how their medical issues would present.
In 2004, he came to Stanford University School of Medicine to join their wilderness medicine fellowship—at the time, the only such fellowship in the United States.
“Wilderness medicine is taking that same innovative problem-solving approach of emergency medicine and applying it to resource-limited areas. Getting outside to wild places inspires me personally. It brings me joy, and it brings me peace. I want to unlock that same experience for others. In our digital logged-in lives, especially through a pandemic, it’s more important than ever before to unplug and get out into nature.”
Since then, Dr. Lipman has been immersed in the field, involved in the practice, education, and clinical research of planning, prevention, and best treatment of medical emergencies in extreme environments. Over the years, he has worked as expedition doctor on six of the seven continents, serving as the medical director for ultra-marathons and researching novel treatments for conditions like high-altitude sickness, heat illness, and hypothermia.
Back on the home front, Dr. Lipman has published over 60 peer-reviewed scientific articles and written numerous book chapters and outdoor medicine guides, including the Wilderness First Aid Handbook, Long Distance Runner's Guide to Injury Prevention and Treatment, and the Boy Scouts of America Scouting Guide to Wilderness First Aid.
“The intersection of human health and the outdoor environment is where my passion joins with my profession.”
The inspiration for GOES
Serving as the medical advisor for Stanford Outdoor Education and lecturing at conferences around the world, Dr. Lipman receives numerous calls each year from people in need of guidance. None were more impactful than one particular call in 2019, from an individual who had been bitten by a large rattlesnake.
The hiker had spent time in a local hospital and was discharged, but his symptoms were getting worse. He researched snakebites online, found Dr. Lipman’s information, and called him up. Fortunately, Dr. Lipman was able to provide precision medical care for a very unusual presentation of severe recurrent envenomation, which was slowly but surely destroying the hiker's healthy tissue and blood cells. Dr Lipman’s intervention ultimately saved the hiker’s leg.
“That experience inspired me to think more about the idea of a 24/7 call panel of wilderness medicine experts. I wanted to be able to provide the highest level of individualized medical information to anyone who might experience an outdoor medical emergency.”
The whole encounter got Dr. Lipman thinking about how to make specialized wilderness medicine knowledge inclusive and accessible to everyone.
Through several years of discovery and refinement, Dr. Lipman put together a dedicated team to bring the GOES concept to life—packaging a lifetime of specialized outdoor medical knowledge and experience into an easy-to-use smart phone application.
The platform presents a three-fold defense against outdoor emergencies: tips for planning and preparation, an off-line assessment and decision support chat bot, and a 24/7 live emergency support line.
“I found that a little bit of knowledge goes a long way in the outdoors… whether it’s an over-the-counter medicine that can prevent acute altitude sickness or a tape wrapping technique that can prevent blisters, simple evidence-based interventions can have a really substantial impact.”
During his career as an expedition doctor in South America, China, the Sahara, Patagonia, Iceland, and other incredible places around the world, Dr. Lipman worked with trekkers and ultramarathon athletes who had been training for multiple years and spent thousands of dollars for a once-in-a-lifetime experience. If they were sick or injured, those people were looking to him to help them decide if they need to sacrifice it all for their own safety.
“Ultimately safety comes first, and I don’t take that lightly. That’s where wilderness medicine fellowship training and deep knowledge of the body’s systems come into play. Whether you are a hard-core mountaineer or a young family of day-trip hikers, whether or not to evacuate is still the hardest decision you will make in an outdoor medical emergency situation.”
“At the end of the day, we want people to get outside and have fun. GOES is here to give people the tools and confidence they need to have a fun and successful outdoor adventure."