Saturday, May 8, 2021

Quantity Has A Quality All Its Own

Lucky you: A Monday Medical chat, days early.

Today's subject:

The average time for a minor wound to heal is a week to 10 days. If you're also burdened with poor circulation or other health problems, or it's a more severe wound, your healing time goes up to two to six weeks.

With, at minimum, daily dressing changes.

That means your needs just went to from 10-40+ dressings, per wound.

So for an uncomplicated in-and-out penetrating flesh wound (gunshot, etc.), you're looking at perhaps 80 dressings for those changes until it's healed. Maybe more.

This isn't going to cut it.

Nor will even this.

So if you're any kind of serious about long-term care, for one or more people, you're talking buying case quantities of supplies: Gauze dressings in all sizes, bandage rolls, etc., plus skin cleansers, antiseptics, ointments, and antibiotics, in order to properly treat any and all emergencies that are likely to arise.

That's not an aid kit, nor an aid bag. It's more like a medical aid closet.

Let's be honest: you don't have to do that. Or at least, not that much.

Maybe everything will be fine, the ERs will always be open and empty, civilization will continue unhindered, and you can always get everything you need, in quantity, at affordable prices, forever (or at least until you die).

It's not like a looming global economic crisis, a pandemic, riots in the streets, or hurricanes, tornados, floods, wildfires, earthquakes, etc., are ever going to happen either, right?

And maybe they never will. I mean, just look at how wonderful everything is right now!

Then again, they just might be cause for some concern to some folks.

So along with the hardware, and the canned goods - both #10, plus olive drab - that you've loaded up on, you should probably start adding to your collection of medical items, and start thinking in terms of big 100s/500s bottles of tylenol, etc., and box and case quantities of various important items.

And in quantities sufficient to ensure repeat customers can be handled, for some goodly amount of time, if things get annoyingly but predictably bad.

Stored properly, their lifespan is measured in years to decades.

If you're not willing or able to do that, stock up on how-to manuals for Civil War era medicine and nursing. Oh, and one other thing.

Suture self.

Bonus Pro Tip:

While you're up, you might need to know the best way to do proper wound care and dressing changes.

So you might want to add a recent edition of something like this to your survival bookshelf.

About $40. Buy once, cry once. Or get an older but still recent edition, or a used one, and save a few bucks. But get one.


  1. Well done dude... Caught me a minor shrapnel wound in 05... had to keep it on the down low as a contractor, any and all wounds were a one-way ticket home due to the worries about liability... thankfully, the kids at the local CASH kept me in good stead what with supplies, antibiotics and other ephemera... and this was a minor penetrating wound, lower calf, 4 inches long, about 3 inches deep... no major vessels hit by some weird anatomical miracle... but DAMNED son if'n that fucker didn't sting and take a while to heal up. I was Gimpy Big Country for about 3 weeks... so yeah, do NOT expect the "USUAL FIRST AID KIT" to provide ANYTHING other than the means to get the wounded motherfucker to a proper aid station/ER... that IRL experience talking...That's ALL a first aid kit is -supposed- to do, FIRST aid... as in the second aid needs it's proper follow up...

  2. 'zackly.

    Wound care requirements all increase in hot, dirty, humid, or non-native environments. Even more so with all-of-the-above.

    Logistics: go big, or go home.

  3. As a bit of a medical history buff you CAN wash basic cotton bandages and sun dry for re-use.

    There is surgically clean AND Surgically Sterile. Both beat dirty fingers and rags stopping bleeding.

    Showing my age I've run autoclave loads of glass syringes (yep, sharpened needles too) and cotton bandages, often washed by hospital laundry for reuse. A pressure cooker with a false bottom to keep the heat from burning items will work well as most bugs need more that 212 degrees F or 100 degrees C to be reliably killed off.

    Also VERY Useful to autoclave instruments and drape materials to establish a surgical field. Wrapped in cotton sheeting materials they keep the items sterile and give you a better than ditch medicine clean field to start work on.

    Know how to make saline for irrigation folks?

    1. Saline for irrigation is nice but not essential: There have been lots of studies that show drinking-clean water (tap water if the purification plants are still working) is just as effective and just as non-harming as sterile saline.

  4. Fastest to treat said wound(s) is best off. Delayed treatment has it's consequences. TacBuddy is your tactical / survival / whatever you care to call it IFAK-Mag pouch. Any attire. Any occasion. Discreet. Comfortable. At your finger tips. FAST! Reliable. TacBuddy.

    1. That works when there is an evacuation chain for the wounded. What is your chain?

  5. Thank you for the reality check! I have nowhere close to your experience and training but have long realized that if it all goes south, a lot of people are going to die that could be saved if our current level of care goes away

  6. 100% correct. People have no clue about the quantities of medical supplies used, or the sheer VOLUME those supplies occupy. In the emergency room, we have very large Rubbermaid trashcans, and it's typical to fill them to greater than 50% on a single trauma patient - between the time he rolls in the bay, to the time he goes to surgery... A roll of Kerlix and a box of 4x4's isn't going to cut it.

    The other elephant that people don't speak of is what to do with the recovering? They will need days to weeks or more of rest, good food (in particular Vitamin-C and zinc supplements for wound healing), physical therapy, etc... Not something that fits into a CLS bag.

  7. Some tips about stocking: Don't go for one big bottle over a bunch of smaller bottles (of anythi ng, but I'm speaking of betadine (povidone-iodine), or whatever.

    If one big bottle leaks, you're screwed (and have a hell of a mess to clean up). If a little bottle leaks, it's just a mess. Some things (bleach, hydrogen peroxide) begin to decay when opened. Peroxide is of limited utility, but it decays FAST, and all you have to do is open the bottle.

    The same for OTC drugs - smaller bottles are more expensive, but less chance of spilling/contaminating them, and less impact if you do.

    If a drug store, dollar store or similar is going out of business, the first aid items are usually the last to be sold off - some real deals there.

    For storage, translucent plastic bins (various sizes) are good - you can see what's inside when you need to get something.

    And don't forget a plan to safely dispose of biowaste - it may have to be a burn pit, but hopefully you can find a stove with a chimney to burn them in, and get the (contaminated) smoke at least away a bit.

  8. Any suggestions for adapting/making medical gear from bandages to whatever in austere settings?


      is pretty good.

  9. Boiling Water and Torn Sheets just entered the room, followed quickly by Gangrene.

  10. RE your wound care book.

    Here's a couple of others that are pretty decent.

    I have both.

  11. @.,
    Sorry, but Special Forces Medical Handbook is a FAIL. It's a dinosaur from just after Vietnam,
    40 years out of date, and should be saved for museum reference.

    The book to which you meant to refer is
    Special Operations Forces Medical Handbook, 2nd ed., the 21st century update:

  12. You're right, I had both pulled up on Amazon, and I clicked on the wrong tab.

    That is the one I meant.

    Where There is No Doctor makes for some interesting reading. You might read it if you have the time.

  13. I've owned WTIND for 20+ years.

    Hippy-dippy Birkenstock-wearing tofu-slurping Peace Corps version of wilderness first aid, but pretty decent overall, with some interesting takes on upgrading from witch doctoring to low-level first-world medical aid.

    Not a primary resource, but a good second-line text, written at about middle school level.

  14. "Hippy-dippy Birkenstock-wearing tofu-slurping Peace Corps version of wilderness first aid, but pretty decent overall......

    LOLOLOLOLOLOL..........sounds right.

    BTW, my employer refused to send me back to 40hr first responder re-cert. So I've been talking with my local fire department to get re-certed through them, but so far the FD training schedule doesn't match mine......

  15. Do you have any suggestions on supply storage? Where does a non-pro get cabinets, etc?