Saturday, June 21, 2014

Book Review: "The Prepper Pages" by Dr. Evan Chamberlain

Book: The Prepper Pages: A surgeon's guide to scavenging the necessary items for a medical kit, and putting them to use while bugging out, by Dr. Evan Chamberlain (Amazon link here). Available for Kindle or in paperback.

Overview: The title and subtitle pretty much tell it all. This is a book by a trauma surgeon giving pointers on scavenging medications and medical supplies, suggesting different items to collect before if possible, and then using the items to treat common injuries and illnesses.

Impression: I'm not a doctor, so I can't give you a medical opinion on the information in the book. However, based on my limited knowledge of first aid and what I've seen from other sources, the information looks legitimate. With that caveat, this is a good book to have on hand--in fact, I would probably place it in either the "must have" category or in the "important to have" category.

I own other books suggested for preppers, including Where There is No Doctor. Since a lot of you probably have the latter book, I'm going to compare The Prepper Pages to Where There is No Doctor. The first thing to realize is that the two books compliment each other--one is not a replacement for the other. Nor is The Prepper Pages a replacement for first aid training. Rather, each of these books or training represent different levels of capabilities.

As you know, first aid is intended to maintain life and, hopefully, stabilize an injury until, if necessary, better treatment can be provided. However, for a serious injury, first aid always ends with getting the victim to an EMT, physician, or hospital.

Where There is No Doctor goes beyond simple first aid. The book is intended to provide information to someone working as a village health worker in a third-world country. Thus, it provides more details on diagnosing medical conditions, administering medications, nutrition and health issues, and so on. But, it is still a fairly basic, and on more complex issues, again refers patients to a doctor or hospital.

The Prepper Pages goes to the next step and, assuming you can't get to a physician or hospital, gives instructions on administering medications and performing basic surgical procedures. It is not a replacement for a doctor--but it gives you information you might need in a disaster to save a life, and written for the layman. More importantly, it is also written from the perspective of post-disaster, SHTF. Sure, you may have a military guide showing how to treat gun shot wounds, or a nursing book demonstrating sutures, but are they going to tell the best places, and time, to loot a pharmacy or pet store after TEOTWAWKI?

While the topics build on one another, and may be mixed about, there are four basic categories of information the author provides.

First, he describes the equipment needed for a particular procedure and substitutes if it is not available. Thus, for instance, if you don't have proper suturing material, the author describes using cotton thread. The author also tells you equipment is the best, all-around useful--so you can work on collecting a kit of the most useful gear.

Second, he discusses sources for equipment and medications both pre-collapse and places to scavenge following a disaster; and gives examples what medications, supplements, etc., that he believes will be the most valuable or useful. This includes a discussion on fish and pet antibiotics.

Third, he discussed the specific procedure and why you need to do something a particular way, including tips and rules of thumb he has picked up in his career.

Fourth, he discusses special supplies for common injuries, such as quick clot, mole skin, "Israel" bandages, Steri-Strips.

What sets the book apart, though, is its focus on injuries you may suffer in the aftermath of a disaster. It discusses treating lacerations, burns, crushed toes, penetrating wounds (including gunshots), animal bites, and contact with poisonous plants, heat exhaustion and heat stroke, hypothermia and frostbite, gangrene, sprains and strains, broken bones, insect bites, skin infections, snake bites, colds and other infections, food poisoning, and sadness and depression. He also discusses field sterilization and sanitation procedures, and making potable water.

Detailed appendixes assist with providing additional information, useful lists, or examples on certain topics. He also describes using chicken pieces (with the skin) to practice some of the suturing and debridement techniques.

In short, this is a very informative book on advanced medical techniques, written for the layman and the prepper. As such, I believe it is an important book to add to your collection.

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