Dealing With Medical Emergencies
August 20, 2012 by Bob Livingston
The prepper can take many lessons from the situation that developed in New Orleans following Hurricane Katrina. One lesson is that when the social order breaks down for a period of days or weeks, adequate medical care will disappear.
So preparedness requires a medical kit. And no medical survival kit is complete without a good book or two on emergency medicine, anatomy, drug reference and medical terminology.
Some good ones to choose from are:
- Nancy Caroline’s Emergency Care In The Streets (Orange Book)
by Nancy Caroline.
- Ditch Medicine: Advanced Field Procedures For Emergencies
by Hugh L. Coffee.
- Mosby’s Paramedic Textbook, 4e
by Mick J. Sanders, MSA, EMT-P.
- Dorland’s Illustrated Medical Dictionary, 32e (Dorland’s Medical Dictionary)
by W.A. Newman Dorland.
- Mosby’s Medical Dictionary, 8e
by Kenneth N. Anderson.
- Oxford Handbook of Clinical Medicine (Oxford Handbooks Series)
by Murray Longmore.
- Wilderness Medicine, 6th: Beyond First Aid
by William Forgey.
- Do-It-Yourself Medicine: How to Find and Use the Most Effective Antibiotics, Painkillers, Anesthetics and Other Miracle Drugs… Without Costly Doctors’ Prescriptions or Hospitals
by Ragnar Benson.
Some of these take you step by step through many surgical and healthcare procedures.
Technology has helped with this as well. Now, much of this information is available on CD-Rom or DVD, which gives you a moving visual rather than text and a static photograph or drawing. Some good ones are:
- 21st Century Emergency War Surgery and the Essential Collection of Military Medical Textbooks – Army Textbooks and Manuals (CD-ROM)
by the Department of Defense. On CD-Rom.
- DITCH MEDICINE – The Video Series – Emergency Intravenous Therapy
by Hugh L. Coffee. On DVD.
All of the above books and videos are available at Amazon.com, and many of the books can be found in book stores.
There are also some videos online that are available for viewing or download that can help in an emergency situation. A Google search of the phrase “What to do in medical emergencies” turns up videos on CPR, helping a choking victim, dealing with dislocations, setting broken bones, stopping bleeding and helping a heart attack victim, among others.
The good news is that with a little medical training, good reference books, basic medical equipment and a few different drugs (analgesics and antibiotics), about nine out of 10 medical emergencies can be dealt with satisfactorily.
For example, typical treatment for a broken leg would be administration of a general anesthetic and the setting of the bone — or, if needed, an operation to insert a pin — and administration of a cast.
But a person can be treated without the operation in an emergency situation and still retain the use of the leg. The patient can take an analgesic and the bone can be set and splinted until it’s healed. He or she may thereafter walk with a limp, but the leg will still be functional.
While most of the medical equipment is relatively easy to come by, acquiring medications is another matter. First, they can be very expensive. Second, many require a prescription, and physicians are loath to prescribe medicines for people who aren’t sick.
However, if you try to coax medications out of your family doctor, you may be successful. A word of advice: Be prepared to discuss the use of the medications and be honest with him about your reason. If you try to fool him, he will catch on; and not only will you not receive any of the medications you want, but you may fracture your relationship with your doctor.
Tell the doctor you are trying to prepare for a disaster situation and want to have some basic medications available. Know what the medicines do that you are asking for. If you are able to get some medicines from your doctor, you should return them when they reach their expiration date. This will assure the doctor you are not abusing the medication.
Some medicines that require a prescription in the United States are available over the counter in Third World countries. Some U.S. residents have been known to bring antibiotics and some other drugs across the border from Mexico. But be aware that governments frown upon drug smuggling, so be careful.
Some medications designed for animals are actually the same as those used to treat similar diseases in humans, and they often cost less. Some of the books mentioned previously outline what veterinary medicines are suitable for human use.
Editor’s Note: This is an excerpt from my book How to Survive the Collapse of Civilization. You can order the book here.–BL