Mountain Medicine Pioneer Will Continue as Director of the Institute for Altitude Medicine
TELLURIDE – Dr. Peter Hackett, a member of the emergency care team at the Telluride Medical Center, has announced his retirement, which took effect on January 1.
Dr. Hackett will continue as the director of the Institute for Altitude Medicine at the Medical Center; his resignation caps a remarkable and unusual medical career that includes 11 years serving the Telluride community.
After graduating from the University of Illinois College of Medicine in Chicago, and training at San Francisco General Hospital, his first job was as a helicopter rescue doctor in Yosemite National Park, where he fought fires and rescued climbers and others. It led him to Nepal, where a three-month stint for a trekking company turned into a love affair with Nepal, and six years of practicing wilderness medicine, researching high altitude illnesses and climbing mountains that culminated in an ascent of Mt Everest in 1981. He collected physiological data all the way to the summit, climbing alone the last three thousand feet, and nearly died on the descent, when he fell on the Hillary Step. He was instrumental in starting the Himalayan Rescue Association, which now has two clinics in Nepal.
During his tenure in Telluride, Dr. Hackett was instrumental in developing emergency services at the Med Center. "Dr. Hackett's search for excellence has been unparalleled and has shaped our ER services as we know it today," said Gordon Reichard, executive director of the Telluride Medical Center.
"His monthly quality review sessions of our ER services are legendary around here,” Reichard added. Dr. Hackett, 65, joined the Telluride Medical Center in 2001, and served for nine years as director of Emergency Services, and as medical director for the Telluride Fire District. He has chaired the International Society for Mountain Medicine and the International Hypoxia Symposia, is recognized as a world authority on mountain medicine, and lectures extensively nationally and internationally.
"Patients couldn't believe their good fortune when they recognized the famous Dr. Hackett as their attending physician. He is a fixture at the Med Center, and we will miss his presence," said Reichard.