Monday, June 17, 2013

Emergency Medicine Vs. Survival Medicine

Some folks are shutting down their blogs due to concern about the PRISM leaks or one reason or another. There seems to be a million blogs devoted to addressing the political corruption or communicating to patriots. I am just going to go back to what  I came here to do, helping people prepare for lean, scary times, with an emphasis on survival and medicine in an austere environment.
A friend of mine, Brock at FreeNC, posted this medical resource which was compiled by a Confederate States surgeon and is located at the UNC archives. It looks to be an impressive collection of natural and
traditional medicine.

Resources of the Southern Fields and Forests,
Medical, Economical, and Agricultural.
Being also a Medical Botany of the Confederate States;
with Practical Information on the Useful Properties of
the Trees, Plants, and Shrubs:

Electronic Edition.

Porcher, Francis Peyre, 1825-1895

Standard emergency medicine strategies are intended to aid you in managing situations where the incident did not occur within easy reach of a hospital .  Certainly, modern medical care on an ocean voyage or wilderness hike is not readily available; even trips to the cities of underdeveloped countries may fit this category as well.
There are medical protocols for these mostly short term scenarios that are widely published, and they are both reasonable and effective. An entire medical education system exists to deal with limited wilderness or disaster situations, and it is served by a growing industry of supplies and equipment. You expect, not unreasonably, that the rescue helicopter is already on the way.  So what is the difference between routine emergency medicine and survival medicine?  It revolves around your goal.
What is your goal when an emergency occurs in a remote setting?
The basic premise of “wilderness” or “disaster” medicine is to:
• Evaluate the injured or ill patient.
• Stabilize their condition.
• Transport the individual to the nearest modern hospital, clinic, or emergency care center.
This series of steps makes perfect sense; you are not a physician and, somewhere, there are facilities that have a lot more technology than you have in your backpack. Your priority is to get the patient out of immediate danger and then ship them off; this will allow you to continue on your wilderness adventure. Transporting the injured person may be difficult to do (sometimes very difficult), but you still have the luxury of being able to “pass the buck” to those who have more knowledge, technology and supplies.  And why not? You aren’t a medical professional, after all.
One day, however, there may come a time when a pandemic, civil unrest or terrorist event may precipitate a situation where the miracle of modern medicine may be unavailable. Indeed, not only unavailable, but even to the point that the potential for access to modern facilities no longer exists. Therefore, YOU have become the place where the “buck” stops for the foreseeable future.
We refer to this type of long-term scenario as a “collapse”. In a collapse, you will have more risk for illness and injury than on a hike in the woods, yet little or no hope of obtaining more advanced care than you, yourself, can provide. It’s not a matter of a few days without modern technology, such as after a hurricane or tornado. Help is NOT on the way.

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