Lesson in survival and dying

I work in medical field and last week we had emergency that reminded me of something I first learned in my SHTF time. It is lesson in survival even if it helps also with dying.

So during my SHTF time. The night this happened started normal. I left my house right after dark. That night shelling was a lot. I had bad feeling, I remember that. Not that it was not normal to have bad feeling going out but this night I remember was worse.

Before shell hits, depending on shell, you have a bit time to hide. Not much, seconds at best. So you hide to stay not seen and when you hear sound of artillery you try to make yourself even smaller. Usually jump behind next pile of rubble or whatever is there.

Early that night I came to bigger street and some shells came down in front of me. I was still in ruined building hiding so no problem. I made it over street a bit later and then saw the mess. Woman, I do not know age had caught shrapnel to her body and face.

She somehow got in entrance of house and was lying there in shock. It looked bad. I did not know what to do. She tried to touch her face but there was not much left. She keep on saying she can not see. I told her to be calm and that help comes. It did not but I did not know what else to say. There was nobody to help and hospital with few doctors and few medication was in different part of city.

Then I took her hand that she stop touching her face. She became more quiet, almost relaxed. So I sit there, hold hand and she start talking about how nice place was before war. We sit and talk maybe twenty minutes, not sure if she really heard me and then she was gone.

I thought that holding hands has helped her to take last journey more relaxed.

I saw many people dying in my time in war and always try to give them gentle touch if they want. It usually has same effect. They get more relaxed and peaceful. Some want to roll up and left alone too but many more do not want to be alone.

Now when I work in emergency service I know how important that is. Last week we had emergency car accident with older married couple involved. Man ended up dead right away, woman survived. I hold her hand on way to hospital and few days later she remembered and thanked me for that.

This is not only for woman but for man too. If you still see and under shock you might feel like in bad dream, someone holding your hand can help you bring you closer to normal.

So if you can do anything to help do it, if you know first aid and nobody else already doing it, do it. Other than that show that they are not alone. Holding hand can work wonders. They are scared and do not want to be left alone.

This can make big differnce for someone even if it is in last minutes of life.

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SHTF First Aid: When small cuts kill

I was invited to check guy who was badly beaten by few guys, man who invited me offered me to introduce me to some man who had connection with smugglers, so i can get stuff cheap if i help this guy.

first aid

When i entered house, guy was laying on bed, could not move too much, lot of bruises everywhere on body, he was conscious, in pains, pretty much drunk. On first look he did not have some serious open injuries, my biggest concern was that i was pretty sure that he had few broken ribs, strong pain while deep breathing, and while moving his body, and clear mark of boot on his chest, obviously someone was jumping on him.

I could not do too much with broken rib, actually i only wrapped him with some layers of clothes, to improvise some kind of belt, and hope that broken rib did not induce some more serious injury to lungs, or something else.

He was coughing and spitting blood, but again i was hoping that comes from broken teeth, not from stomach or lungs. Minor cuts and bruises we just rinsed with rakia, and that s it. Nothing more we could do.

And guess, what? Few days later, i was called again, and everything was fine, except nothing was fine. One of the pretty much small cuts on his hand got infected, it was small cut, in normal times would not required sewing or stitching, maybe butterfly closure. But it turned bad.

I’ve spent days and days cleaning and removing dead tissue from that wound, trying to do something, some of his friends manage after some time to get some antibiotics, child dosage in suspension with expired date of use.

I used scalpel, not medical, it was scalpel for some wood work, i removed tissue with that, his family used mixture of honey and some pine stuff for wound, i used rakia and peace of old rubber glove to keep it open.

Anyway he survived, he did not lose his hand, but he lost function of three fingers. It was pure luck that he did not lose his life. And funny thing, not the broken ribs killed him but small cut almost killed him.

Probably nothing would happen if i had Iodine and enough sterile gauze, not to mention stuff like topical antibiotic, or Ciprobay tabs or any of this.

Now of course I’m prepared and have everything, for topical, oral, intravenous use.

Later he told me that guy wanted to hit him in the head with some agricultural tool for digging, he missed his head, he just scratch his hand with that.

Just basics can go a long way

Anyway, point is, to buy today full set for treating wounds, does not cost too much, sterile gloves, compress, forceps, butterfly closures, antibiotic treatment, povidone, hydrogen peroxide, anti tetanus shots, sutures… everything, it can be found for maybe 100$ here.

Is it worth 100$? Yes, it can worth 1000$ or 10000$ it can be priceless actually. When it comes to you or your family member it is priceless, if you helping someone else, you can say a price.

first aid set

I learned medical profession before SHTF and work now for over 20 years in medical field, mostly emergency room and see people stabbed and shot every week. Often I’m person who has to get them ready for transport when they still lay in their blood. Here are two simple things you can do now to help your chances of survival.

Just learn basic procedure for treating wounds and make sure people around you know it too. You might be unconscious when you need treatment and loved ones should know how. Too often people treat things and make things worse not better.

Most wounds that you are going to care are gonna be small cuts, lacerations. I am not saying that you are not going to be in situation to treat gunshot wound, or open fracture on leg for example, i am using laceration as a example to show some basic rules, everything else takes much more to say, and needs to be addressed as separate and big subject.

      1. Use protection if you treat wounded man, gloves, mask, face shield, gown… whatever you have if possible.
      2. Stop any massive bleeding (if it present) by direct pressure on wound, elevation (extremity) or pressure points.
      3. Remove dirt from wound by irrigation, i prefer hydrogen peroxide and sterile water, use sterile swab or sterile forceps for that.
      4. Use iodine on sterile compresses, and dress the wound with bandages.
      5. Start with antibiotic treatment (Xiclav or similar antibiotic)
      6. Inspect wound every day, clean it, then use Iodine and compresses and bandaging.

Now remember, this all matters for you if YOU are only person with some medical knowledge and some medical supplies, if there is no doctor, no hospital, in other words if SHTF for real. If there is a higher medical authority than you available, look for it.

These are some general rules, exceptions are many, stab wound you can not flush in some cases, you can kill man in few seconds if you instantly remove knife from his leg (example), is he allergic on antibiotics? What if wound become infected after few days? Antibiotic ointments oral antibiotics or IV antibiotics?… Much more to say about this. Anyway, the standard procedure will get you out of biggest trouble in most cases.

Basic EDC (every day carry) First Aid Set

Now here is my basic first aid EDC (every day carry). I have in bag with my gun. I have that bag usually with me or in car.

Military First Aid Bandage / Field Dressing, 6-pack, Camouflage, 4″x7″ with Gauze Ties
Military bandage is used to quickly plug hole in sterile way. It is first thing that you gonna put on any bigger wound, it is made from something like gauze pad and bandage all in one, point is if you do not have time to take too much time on the place, just use military bandage to cover wound, stop bleeding, and bandage it, all in one, and it is packeged sterile. This is often first thing used just after someone is shot or stabbed.

C-A-T Combat Application Tourniquet – Black by North American Rescue Brand
To stop massive blood loss.

Sterile Latex Exam Gloves, Individual Peel-Open Package, Medium, Box of 50 Pairs
There are also sets with mask and gloves in one sterile package. I use that.

Prestige Medical Fluoride Scissor, Black, 7 1/2 Inch
EMT scissors, it is very heavy duty scissors, for quick removing clothes from patient, i often use it on my job for cutting seat belt. Quickly, sharp and with guard so you can not cut or stab patient and good ones can even cut wire.

Povidone Scrub Solution, 16 Oz
Kills bacteria.

KENDALL VERSALONTM All-purpose Sterile Sponge, 4 Ply, 4″ X 4″, 2/pk – Pack 25
+ 3M Medipore H Soft Cloth Surgical Tape – 2″ wide -
+ 3M Steri Strip Skin Closures 1/4” X 3” – 10 Packages of 3
+ Kerlix Type Gauze Rolls 4″X4 yds, Sterile, 10/bag
If I have more time to treat wound or follow up treatment.

I have a bit different things but as most of you are from US or other country with Internet shops I looked products similar to mine up. As you see it is not much but it can make a big difference. Difference between life and death.