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In normal times, once you have stopped the bleeding and applied a splint or dressing, the emergency is “over.” You sit and wait for an ambulance or rescue helicopter to arrive and your part is over. In an austere setting, however, the medic must follow the status of the wound for more than a few minutes or hours. You’re in charge until the person is fully recovered. Constant, diligent wound care is your responsibility.
It’s important to understand that a wound is not just a “hole”; it’s part of a person who should be informed of your plan of action and participate, if possible, in their care.
Most wounds will heal completely over time, but some may never achieve full recovery. Due to massive injuries or complicating conditions such as diabetes, the best care may sometimes yield a less-than-optimal result even in good times. The medic’s duty is to care for the patient the best they can with the limited supplies and technology available off the grid.
In this episode, Dr. Joe Alton discusses daily wound care in austere settings, including the removal of non-viable tissue using sharp debridement. It ain't pretty, but if you're the medic, it's you that has to do it. Also, questions that preppers should ask their doctors when told to take a new drug or get a serious diagnostic test.
All this and more on the Survival Medicine Podcast!
Wishing you the best of health in good times or bad,
Joe Alton MD
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