Paton, Bruce C.

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Paton, Bruce C.

PERSONAL: Born in India. Education: University of Edinburgh, M.D.

ADDRESSES: Home— Denver, CO. Office— 5380 E. Mansfield Ave., Denver, CO 80237; fax: 303-692-8225. E-mail— [email protected]

CAREER: Writer, historian, physician, artist, and surgeon. University of Colorado Health Sciences center, clinical professor of surgery; physician in private practice in Denver, CO, now retired. Wilderness Medical Society, former president; Colorado Outward Bound School, former chairman; Given Institute, director, 1999—. Military service: Served in the Royal Marine Command (Great Britain); became lieutenant.

MEMBER: American Association for Thoracic Surgery, American Surgical Association, Society for Cardiothoracic Surgeons in Great Britain and Ireland. Fellow of the Royal College of Surgeons of Edinburgh and the Royal College of Physicians of Edinburgh.


Lewis & Clark: Doctors in the Wilderness, Fulcrum Publishing (Golden, CO), 2001.

Adventuring with Boldness: The Triumph of the Explorers, Fulcrum Publishing (Golden, CO), 2006.

Contributor of art to books, including Eric Shipton: Everest and Beyond, Mountaineers Books, 1998. Has also published 200 medical papers on cardiac surgery, frostbite, hypothermia, and medical history.

SIDELIGHTS: Bruce C. Paton is an author and physician. Born in India, he was educated in Scotland and served as a doctor in Scotland and Kenya before moving to the United States, where he worked as a research fellow in surgery, according to a biographer on the Fulcrum Publishing Web site. Paton is an avid outdoors adventurer who has twice climbed Africa’s Mount Kilimanjaro. An expert in wilderness medicine, he cofounded the Wilderness Medical Society and writes on issues related to adventuring and outdoors medicine.

In Lewis & Clark: Doctors in the Wilderness, Paton delves into the medical history of the storied Lewis and Clark expedition, examining the state of medical science in the eighteenth century and uncovering facts about the medical care afforded to the members of the expedition as they opened up sections of the American West. Paton recounts the expedition’s more prominent medical events and emergencies, and describes how medical care was administered to those who needed it. Notably, Paton concludes that Lewis and Clark, “although minimally trained in the medical arts of the day, were arguably able to assess, diagnose, and treat wilderness illness and injury with as much (if not more) competence as most physicians of the period,” observed George W. Rodway in Wilderness and Environmental Medicine. Paton “is clearly at his best when employing his expertise as a backcountry medicine expert. Ailments related to altitude and climate—frostbite and heat exhaustion, diet and water deficiencies—these are the areas where Paton competently suggests new ways of looking at old material,” remarked Dawn Nickel, writing in Montana.“By drawing upon his background as a surgeon and wilderness medicine expert, Dr. Paton has produced a very readable, nontechnical, and often entertaining book,” Rodway commented.

Adventuring with Boldness: The Triumph of the Explorers contains Paton’s examination of the lives and motivations of nine famous explorers, adventurers, and other bold seekers of the unknown. Some adventurers succeeded wildly while others failed or, at worst, perished, and Paton investigates the characteristics and motivations that separate the two. He focuses on a number of individuals and expeditions from the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries, some more famous than others, including Lewis and Clark, Zebulon Pike, and even the notorious Captain Bligh. He covers the explorers’ missions, expedition personnel, accomplishments, and, when necessary, failures. Paton uncovers how success often hinged not on grand schemes and expansive goals, but on attention to small but crucial details. A Publishers Weekly reviewer commented that the book has “elements of an accessible textbook and an informative field manual.”



Montana, summer, 2002, Dawn Nickel, review of Lewis & Clark: Doctors in the Wilderness.

Publishers Weekly, February 27, 2006, review of Adventuring with Boldness: The Triumph of the Explorers, p. 42.

Wilderness and Environmental Medicine, Volume 14, number 1, George W. Rodway, review of Lewis & Clark.


Fulcrum Publishing Web site, (November 30, 2006), biography of Bruce C. Paton.

University of Colorado Health Sciences Center Web site, (November 30, 2006), biography of Bruce C. Paton.