A Few Good Books for Post Calamity Med/Trauma Care

A Few Good Books for Post Calamity Med/Trauma Care

Postby Dave Z » Fri May 05, 2017 11:55 pm

A Short Shelf for DIY Remote Medical and Dental

First Responders generally do so within ambulance context (within two hours of a hospital). The goals are to stabilize, package and transport as quickly as possible, and according to protocols that allow only minimal treatment. Doctors at the hospital handle all but select, advanced procedures.

Wilderness context (more than two hours from a hospital) means that longer term care, diagnosis and treatment are necessary. Very often, equipment must be improvised. Thus protocols and training empower the Wilderness First Responder (WFR, pronounced Woofer) to perform much as a would doctor in the field.

In short, WFR training is a great start toward post-calamity illness and trauma response.


We cruise the far reaches of SE Alaska's archipelago under sail (no motor). In any emergency, we are very likely to be well outside of ambulance context and must rely upon ourselves. We've selected these books as some we've found most useful in the wilderness context:

ANATOMY Quick Study by BarCharts, Inc.
MICROBIOLOGY Quick Study by BarCharts, Inc.

These are laminated pages in 3-Ring Binder Format, and cover some of the background basics that are more or less assumed or simplified in the texts below.

They now have available a Quick Study on First Aid, but I've not yet seen it.

Pain Free: A Revolutionary Method for Stopping Chronic Pain by Pete Egoscue

This falls into the preventative category, though it helps treat certain conditions, as well. The idea is that the skeleton's alignment, MISalignment and REalignment are all subject to muscles. Habitual patterns of movement (from, say, being right- or left-handed) and bad habits pull the skeleton out of line, increasing risk of injury and eventually leading to intermittent and chronic pain. Through a series of simple, non-taxing exercises, alignment is regained and maintained.

This book has been extraordinarily popular among our local fishermen and women... not a group given to fads. The approaches presented have worked across a wide range of complaints, where traditional approaches have not helped.

The Wilderness First-Aid Guide
by Wayne Merry

One of several good books on the subject, this one also covers cold country (often given short shrift by others). It is published in field format (can take it along with you), and provides a comprehensive reference to field medical procedures short of surgery. All subjects are laid out in easy to access form, and clear illustrations accompany text.

This book was used as a text for the WFR class I took through our local Search And Rescue (SAR). It was expensive, and consumes a week of dedicated time, but I can't recommend it too highly for anyone who ventures beyond city limits (or for whom calamity is conceivable).

Where There Is No Doctor by David Werner
Where There Is No Dentist by Murray Dickson

This pair of books is written for health-care providers in Third World conditions. Written in very simple, clear terms, with good illustrations, they make the most of materials on hand for prevention, diagnosis, care and treatment

Additionally, they have excellent descriptions of and specifications for medicines and equipment helpful to both a clinic and the individual care giver, as well as many improvised tools and treatments.

Given that both are being upgraded by Hesparian Health Guides with experience and emerging technologies, I recommend you obtain the most recent edition available.

Where ... No Doctor – This book emphasizes care in warmer climates. General and preventative health are covered well. In particular, it has good sections on medical issues specific to older persons, women, infants and children and family planning.

Where ... No Dentist
-- This book covers oral and dental care, diagnosis and treatment of most issues. Notably, it covers a method for permanent, DIY fillings using Atraumatic Restorative Treatment (ART). 'Atraumatic' is somewhat optimistic, but refers to the method not relying on a dental drill, and anaesthesia can often be avoided.

The downside, implying more research to be done, is that improvising anaesthesia, temporary or permanent filling materials is NOT covered.

I've heard that more people have died from dental problems than in all wars combined. True or not, modern dentistry and anaesthesia address a problem that has plagued toothed animals since time out of mind. Should it become unavailable, the knowledge in this book will be invaluable.

Ditch Medicine: Advanced Field Procedures for Emergencies by Hugh L. Coffee

This book takes us up through some field surgery, InterVenous therapy, amputations and battlefield-level wound care. It covers some of the same ground as the other books, but at the deep end of the pool. The section on suturing is particularly well done.

Text and illustrations are clear, and graphic pictures help one imagine what might be encountered. My only quibble is that there is no index... all access is via the Table of Contents.

War Surgery: Working with Limited Resources in Armed Conflict and Other Situations of Violence
by International Committee of the Red Cross
Emergency War Surgery by US Army

These manuals cover essential surgeries under rough, albeit logistically supported conditions. I would very much hesitate to attempt these procedures unless absolutely desperate. Nevertheless, they are resources for a future we may see. Without something like them when SHTF, we may find ourselves SOL.

* * * * *

Physicians' and Nurses' References can be useful as well (I find Merck Manuals to be particularly accessible). But they are whopping great tomes, and pretty much assume that advanced health care infrastructure is available. For this reason, we don't carry them. Still, something to consider, especially where preservation of Knowledge is a goal.

They are full of jargon and assumed knowledge, so require more investment to use. Research is often required to translate optimal medicines to what is available (e.g., a specific medication, specified for its optimal analgesic properties vs. an analgesic).
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Dave Z
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