Dr Jim Milledge has been involved with high altitude medicine and physiology for 50 years since serving as a member of the “Silver Hut” Expedition 1960-61 (Leader, Sir Edmund Hillary, Sci. Ldr. Dr Griffith Pugh).
He started hill walking as a boy in North Wales and rock climbing as a medical student. A 3-year commission in the RAF (in lieu of National Service) gave him a taste of aviation medicine. Training in respiratory medicine subsequently and experience of lung function testing in the early days of the subject, gave him an interest in respiratory physiology. After the Silver Hut, he spent 10 years as physician and physiologist at CMC Vellore, India, during which time he had two further expeditions to Nepal and a year as research fellow in San Francisco with John Severinghaus.
On return to the UK in 1972 he was appointed to Northwick Park Hospital and Clinical Research Centre as Physician and MRC Scientific Member. He was able to continue altitude research at intervals, mainly on expeditions to the great ranges of Nepal, China, Africa and South America. In 1981 he was a member of the American Medical Research Expedition to Everest led by John West. For the last 4 years of his time at NPH he was Medical Director of the Trust.
He retired in 1995 and has been fortunate to be able to continue to pursue this interest in Mountain Medicine, now almost full time. With two friends from the Silver Hut (John West and Mike Ward) he published the standard text on the subject, High Altitude Medicine and Physiology, now in its 4th edition. He has written and lectured widely on the subject and is involved with many altitude research groups in the UK. He was a founder member of Medex (Medical Expeditions) and a member of the Faculty of the Diploma in Mountain Medicine. In 2005 he was made an Hon. Professor at UCL. In 2007 he was the “Honoree” at Lake Louise Hypoxia Symposium and was President of the International Society of Mountain Medicine 2004-8. His last visit to Nepal was to accompany the Caldwell Xtreme Everest Expedition to Base Camp in 2007 and he hopes to conduct a small research study with the team in the Margherita Hut on Monte Rosa this Summer.