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Recently, a new medical survival guide called Survival MD came across my radar and I decided to flip through it. Most of the guides of this sort don’t appeal to me much; they’re either so technical that I want to go to sleep after page 2, or they’re so simplified that there’s not much information that’s useful to me. This one, however, was a pleasant surprise.
First, let’s talk about the level of information in the book. The author of the book, Dr. Radu Scurtu, doesn’t focus on one particular SHTF scenario; instead, he goes with the assumption that SOMETHING has happened that has made medical professionals and hospitals unavailable. Since he discusses mostly medical emergencies, it doesn’t really matter whether you’re without medical services for 10 hours or 10 days because the issues that he discusses need to be dealt with immediately.
The information is organized in a manner that makes it easy to skim through the table of contents and find what you’re looking for quickly. It’s arranged into two sections that become increasingly detailed and condition-specific. The first section is about preparedness for disease or injury before disaster strikes and the second section addresses medical preparedness and how to take action after disaster strikes.
Survival MD begins with Dr. Scurtu explaining the value of being in good health before disaster. Preparedness of your body is just as crucial as preparedness of your medical kit. Your body is much more apt to recover from acute disease or injury if you have a strong immune system and are within normal weight and health ranges when you become ill.
Next in the preparedness section, Dr. Scurtu breaks disease and illness down by bodily systems: nervous system, respiratory system, circulatory system, etc. He describes the most common conditions related to each system then tells you how to prepare for people who have those conditions. When appropriate, such as with stroke, he also tells you how to recognize the signs and symptoms so that you may help the person if at all possible.
What I really liked about this part of the first section is that it tells you what medications and supplies that you need to stockpile for people with chronic conditions such as asthma, digestive disorders and kidney infection and disease. He also goes into detail about the symptoms of many different conditions so that you may differentiate, or at least get a good idea of what is going on with the person.
Section one continues on to delve into dental conditions, which are going to be a serious concern when and if SHTF. Not only are dental issues excruciatingly painful, they can also turn deadly because the infection caused by an abscessed tooth can easily enter the bloodstream via the numerous little capillaries in your gums. An abscess can quite realistically kill you and needs to be treated immediately.
After the dental information, the book touches on women’s health issues such as pregnancy then goes on to provide a nice list of medications that you should stockpile if at all possible.
The great thing about this list is that it’s detailed; the meds are broken down into categories such as cold and flu, antibiotics, psychotropics, pain medication and children’s medications. It’s not just a list of meds, either; he provides the name of the med then goes on to tell you what it’s best used for and how much you should take based upon standard dosing procedures where appropriate.
At this point, you’re only about 2/3 of the way through the first section. Next, Dr. Scurtu provides information about buying various types of medical response kits. He breaks them down according to need: superficial, wounds requiring sutures or staples, and complicated wounds and fractures. The list is descriptive and easy to understand; he describes the tools that should be in each kit.
Section 1 is rounded out with a list of sanitation procedures, alternative medications, treatments and preventative measures such as herbs, yoga and tai chi. Personally, the herbal remedy section was most interesting and useful to me, but to each their own.
Heading into section 2, you already have a good knowledge base from the topics covered in section 1 and Dr. Scurtu builds upon that. As with section 1, he starts out simply. He explains how to identify signs of medical distress and how to determine what sequence to treat injuries and illnesses in so that you give the patient the best chance of survival. He also touches on basic triage techniques that will help you determine WHO to treat first.
Next, Dr. Scurtu explains how to assess a patient and how to perform first aid and CPR both on adults and on children. After basic life-saving techniques are explained, he delves into particular injuries and illnesses that are most common during a crisis. Just a few of these include:
• Top 5 Causes of Injury
• Top 5 Injuries During a Crisis
• Common Types of Injuries
After he explains what to expect, the doctor breaks it down even further and gets to the real nitty gritty: the individual injury types. He describes the injury, then tells you how to treat it. Again, these are broken down into categories that are logical and easy to understand. A few areas that he touches on include:
• How to’s: stop bleeding, clean and injury, suture skin, apply a cast, etc.
• Types of trauma and their treatments: head, eyes, chest, neck, tracheal, abdomen, arms, legs, etc.
• Fractures, Dislocations and Sprains
• Puncture Wounds
Once he thoroughly and descriptively covers injuries, he moves on to non-traumatic conditions such as hypothermia, infection and radiation poisoning. Dr. Scurtu progresses in the same manner to address infectious diseases and conditions related to climate. As with all of the traumatic illnesses, he describes the condition well then tells you how best to treat it.
The book wraps up with some tips about how to survive disaster in the winter and then Dr. Scurtu provides a list of references for further reading.
Survival MD by Dr. Radu Scurtu is an inclusive, easy-to-understand medical guide that I was truly impressed with. Even considering I have read numerous books that claim to be excellent “survival” medical books, I still learned quite a bit from this book and I recommend it highly. It would be a great go-to guide in a pinch and it makes great reading for those who want to learn more about emergency medical treatments. Job well done.
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