Book Review: The Prepper’s Medical Handbook

Book Review: The Prepper’s Medical Handbook

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Review by HOLLY ENDERSBY

If the Coronavirus pandemic and wildfires throughout the West have taught us anything, it is to be prepared to take care of ourselves as emergency and medical personnel are stretched to the breaking point. To that end, Dr. William Forgey’s book on medical preparedness, The Prepper’s Medical Handbook, belongs in everyone’s home library.

Dr. Forgey is a family practice physician who is a fellow of the Explorers Club and past president of the Wilderness Medical Society and the author of Wilderness Medicine and Basic Illustrated Wilderness First Aid.

This Vietnam veteran and former special warfare instructor has the knowledge base to help people survive medical emergencies when outside help is either nonexistent or horribly delayed.

This book outlines how to manage survivable medical conditions through long-term care in the event normal medical assistance is unavailable.

There are, of course, some conditions that can’t be cared for successfully without a full array of professional medical personnel and equipment. But many medical emergencies can be managed until outside help is available through preparation and with adequate supplies on hand.

As the title indicates, this is a “Preppers” approach to an “end of the world as we know it” scenario. However, it really doesn’t matter if you take that world-view. This book will help you get by when events such as snow storms, hurricanes, wildfires, and earthquakes cut off medical help, internet, and phone support.

The handbook begins with an assessment guide, both for initial response and more focused treatment. This section refers you to the appropriate page to deal with what you believe is wrong.

The thoroughness of the book is essential for guiding a non-medical person through the process of evaluation and treatment.

Despite the long list of issues to be dealt with, Dr. Forgey takes the reader through an easy-to-understand approach to assessment and care that takes the mystery out of medical emergencies, including stabilization of the patient and appropriate treatment. 

Each medical issue is clearly referenced to a section of the book dealing with that injury or illness. Instead of having to thumb through the book while under stress, you are clearly directed to the right page to help you provide treatment.

It’s hard to imagine a more complete and easier to use medical emergency guide when you are totally off the grid and will be for some time. Even if you can call for emergency help, this guide can help maintain and stabilize the patient until other medical assistance arrives.

Of equal importance to treatment is an easy-to-use guide on what supplies to have on hand. Dr. Forgey divides the items into “Bug-out bag of 2 weeks duration” to supplies to ensure preparedness for one to five years. Most of us will benefit from the two-week supply list, no matter where you live.

I live five miles from the nearest paved road, nine additional miles from the nearest basic EMT response unit, and over an hour from a hospital.

Sometimes in winter, our home is unreachable due to drifting snow and high winds. We keep ample medical supplies on hand to help us until more advanced assistance can arrive, but expert guidance from this handbook will help significantly.

This may just be the most important book you buy. ISI

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