The Scary Reality of Casualty Evacuation to a higher level of careThe Scary Reality of Casualty Evacuation to a higher level of care
You see it on Medical Preparedness and SHTF blogs often, Preppers with little to no medical knowledge or experience asking how to cut holes in peoples necks to breathe for them, push antibiotics and intravenous fluids they don't know about, and throw in a chest tube by cutting a hole in their thoracic cavity. What if they perform a wrong intervention, or the right one at the wrong time and make things significantly worse? Would you want someone who has never done that before to do it to you? In a life or death situation during a collapse, you may say yes. I'm going to explain why we shouldn't consider alternate routes; Those routes are having a medical professional in the group as well as having a plan to get them to the nearest hospital, medical tent, volunteer center or the next.
Acquiring a Medical Professional, or becoming one: I will start off this section by saying that I don't think medical people are capable of something you are not... as long as you have the training. That being said, finding a like minded medical provider could be difficult to get started, but infinitely worth the rewards. While having a full blown Doctor or Special Forced Medic would be optimal, a Nurse, Paramedic, or even specialties like Dental Tech could all help. Not only will they be able to help you in a situation where medical care is not available, but they will more importantly cross-train the group so you can all be "mini-medics", much akin to the Tactical Combat Casualty Care(TCCC) program where Medics train their non-medical platoon mates on what to do if they are not around or get hurt.
An added bonus, is if the region you are in is de-stabilized for long enough, the medical professional in your group could provide services to other locals for bartering, depending on their skill level. If it is a natural disaster, you could assist them in volunteering to help the affected area while learning along the way.
We simply can't find a Medical Provider: Finding a prepper minded medical professional before-hand is an on-going process... So why not become one? I recommend to everyone, preparedness or not, and especially if they have children, to take a First Aid/CPR class. Inexpensive, Quick, Simple and the building blocks of medicine. Not only will this let you know if medicine could be your forte, you can benefit the group through what you have learned. It also looks good on a resume before an emergency.
From CPR/First Aid you could go on to CNA or EMT, or even volunteer with your local firefighters to work first hand with paramedics and those who handle wounded individuals often. You can see how calm you should act in a medical situation and grow from that, while helping the community and making friends you could possibly turn into fellow Emergency Action Group members down the road.
I've treated the casualty to the best of my abilities...but 911 is simply not coming: This is one of the most commonly neglected areas of most preppers medical plans. I see that they want to learn interventions far above their skill set because a Doctor is never coming... Wait, Come again? Where did all these Doctors go, did they get raptured away? My point is: There will always be medical pro's. Just because finances, governments, resources, electricity and all else collapses, they won't disappear. Even in Katrina there were volunteer tents and triage centers. It would have to be a very specific situation for there to be 0% chance for your patient to see the next echelon of care. The truth can be much more difficult, but the chaos of it can be managed by training: Medical Evacuation.
Set a P.A.C.E. Plan (Primary, Alternate, Contingency, Emergency), Which is a fancy acronym for, "If Plan A Fails, Go to Plan B. If B Fails, Go to C, etc." You'll need to designate vehicles, trucks, quads or even that tractor trailer, or having to walk with a litter or SKEDCO dragging them behind you.
Know where the nearest hospitals are, their type, and every different way to get there with maps. The nearest hospitals matter so you can plan how long it takes with different methods to get there, xx minutes by car, xx minutes by ATV, and xx minutes by foot, for example. After that has been loosely calculated, you can road trip there with your group for a get together. This is also where you make strip maps. You may scoff at this paragraph and know how to get to the nearest hospitals like the back of your hand, but if you are the one that is injured and someone else is unfamiliar, a major road is closed or blocked by traffic, weather or debris, you may have a problem. Finally, knowing whether a hospital is a level 1, Pediatric hospital or just a volunteer clinic set up after a catastrophe can make sure your time is not further wasted by taking them to a less than appropriate medical site.
Finally, you'll want to bring what you'll need to recieve medical care, and more. If you can prove you have medical insurance, or the grid is far beyond that leisure, make sure to bring what you will need to barter for this medical care. Gold, Food, or others measures. This can be set aside with the emergency fuel explicitly to be used only for the Casualties evacuation. In summary, You can see how a casualty test all a preppers skills and resources. You'll need to put your first aid skills to the test, stay calm to recognize if he needs more medical attention or not, have a plan and three more back up plans to get him on his way to someone who knows more medicine than him and account for setbacks. I hope you don't stop learning survival and bushcraft medicine, but also continue to account for ways you can provide them quality treatment if needed. I hope you gathered a few thinking points to discuss with your Emergency Action Group. As a 19 year old, a handful of years prior, I was a young medic in charge of dozens of men on a remote outpost that was over 100 miles away from the nearest medical center. If the weather was too poor for a Blackhawk helicopter to get off the ground, or they were busy evacuating trauma casualties in another region, I was all that there was. I learned that while controlling hemorrhage is the cool meat and potatoes of trauma, you need to learn all aspects of medicine and dive into books to truly take care of your peers. I've managed broken bones, heart attacks and other medical emergencies at a time where if I made the wrong call, my patient would die, but if I called a MEDEVAC for someone who did not need it, I would be taking up the resources from the battlefield that needed it. I impart the lessons I learned onto you in hopes you can better the medical readiness of your Emergency Action Group -or- EAG.