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Old September 17, 2012, 09:28 PM   #6
Senior Member
Join Date: February 13, 2012
Location: Allen, TX
Posts: 363
I agree with grubbylabs; certainly you don't want to pack something you don't know how to use. It sounds like he is a First Responder and thus has likely spent many more hours in an ambulance than I have as an RN (or even as an old Funeral Director when Funeral Directors provided ambulance service). But I do have a rationale for the medical supplies I suggested.

You stated a case where you might need to survive for several days. In my (very limited) time in an ambulance, interventions were for the short-term; with the intent that the victim would be in the ER within 15 minutes. For example, if a person had a sucking check wound it was quite unlikely a chest tube would ever need to be inserted in the ambulance, as the person would likely live long enough to get to the hospital without it. If you've shot yourself or been shot in the field, that is unlikely you will even receive first responder treatment in 15 minutes; thus, considerations change from what I would expect for an incident in the community.

Let me also say that as an RN, I will defer to the judgement of a First Responder in these matters most of the time. I may have a 'higher' license than most responders, but I would be stupid not to consider their greater experience in this type situation.

For the first aid items I mentioned earlier, here is my rationale:
  • Benadryl - If I walk into bees or the like then I want something to mitigate the histamine reaction. Take it as recommended on the label.
  • Aspirin - If I suspect I'm having a heart attack. Take is as recommended.
  • Pain Medicine - Speak with your doctor about getting an emergency pain medicine. For myself I carry Tramadol; not too strong, not too weak. Common traumas are sprains and breaks. A moderate pain killer can let me function enough to care for myself.
  • Antibiotic - Speak with your doctor about getting a starter dose of a wide spectrum antibiotic. Open and unclean wounds are likely with any serious trauma in the field. If you are out stranded for even a day, the infection can be serious.
  • Your own prescriptions - If you take prescription medications, be sure to have some in your emergency kit.
  • Chest wound barrier - With a sucking chest wound, tension pneumothorax is commonly fatal. As an RN or for someone that obtains training, I prefer a pure chest seal and a decompression needle. For others I would recommend carrying something like a HALO Chest Seal (with vent tab) or Bolin Chest Seal. In the unfortunate event of this type of wound, the odds are not good, but without a chest seal they are much worse. A chest wound barrier can also be used on open wounds elsewhere, although they shouldn't be placed to make the covering air-tight. Also, layman training in the use of chest seals can be found in most communities if you call around.
That's my 2ยข on medications and the chest seal. When I get more time, I'll type up my kit's non-medicinal contents, along with items I'm considering adding or have decided to add.


PS. I used to consider carrying a clotting agent (ex: Celox). But on the advice of some First Responders and a physician, I am not doing so. I've come to the conclusion that clotting agent use belongs in the realm of the military, with trained and experienced responders. For trauma that results in blood loss that would be helped by a clotting agent I would probably not be able to apply it myself and would likely die anyway. Use of a clotting agent in an inappropriate situation is likely to cause more harm than good. For blood loss, pressure remains king.
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