Saturday, July 2, 2011

"Where There Is No Doctor": A Review

Over the past few months I've used my prepping budget to build up our survival library. As promised, here's the first of many book reviews I'll be sharing.

Have you seen the show on the Discovery Channel called "Dual Survival"? It pairs Cody Lundin, a barefoot, New Age hippy, with Dave Canterbury, a no-nonsense army vet. The most interesting part of the show is the dynamic between two extremely different people as they work together to survive in extreme scenarios.

Hubby Dear and I are a bit like that, I guess. He's extremely no-nonsense. I'm full of nonsense, which in this analogy makes me the hippy of the relationship. Hey, I do like granola.

One of the "dual"aspects of our relationship is that Hubby Dear is a physician and I... am not. We both took a look at the Hesperian Foundation's Where There Is No Doctor and we'll give you our separate perspectives on it.

Where There is No Doctor is often recommended. But is it really worth
adding to your survival library?

The Harried Homemaker's Take:

If you're looking for a book to learn about first aid or some at-home remedies for common medical ailments, this is probably not what you're looking for. This book was written as a handbook for aid workers and/or villagers in third world countries. I'd like to hope that the USA's medical infrastructure will always be around, but if it isn't, this book would become useful.

It covers basics like hygiene and nutrition - things we all learn in grade school here in the USA. It also gives basic instructions for childbirth, treating dehydration, setting broken bones, etc. Nothing is covered in depth, but it would be a useful starting point if you are truly without access to medical care. It is written in very simple language so that anyone should be able to understand it.

In short: this book isn't a substitute for routine care by a medical professional, but it could be useful in extreme, SHTF scenarios.

Hubby Dear's Take:

This book has an excellent breadth of topics, and it goes into a good amount of detail on a number of them. It covers things as basic as first aid, to ailments of specific organs/organ systems (e.g., the eye, the skin), to delivering children. Although as a family physician I do these things on a regular basis, I always have my trusty medical supplies with me in a controlled environment. This book gives ideas on how to handle these problems with common objects and under less than ideal conditions.

The authors of this book definitely have their own viewpoints on medicine, with some of which I agree, while with others I do not. For example, they are very much against the indiscriminate use of antibiotics in our culture. As a daily combatant in the war against the overuse of these medications, I appreciated their emphasis and explanations on this subject. However, they also are very much in favor of easy access for abortions, which I very much oppose. This really did not detract from the useful information in the book, though.

One somewhat minor point that I would like the authors to correct in any future editions would be in relation to the dosing of medications for pediatric patients. In general, we use weight to dose children, not age. All of the dosing in the book is by age. I think both should be there, with weight as the default if the child's weight is available. It's just more accurate and significantly decreases the possibility of overdosing or underdosing.

Overall, this book would be very useful to have in a situation where professional medical care is not easily available, whether that be in a far away village or during a TEOTWAWKI situation.

Another dual aspect to this book is that you can buy it... or not.

The Hesperian Foundation makes this book available for free download on its website. Click here if you are interested in doing that.

We chose to buy a copy from because:
A) I don't feel comfortable keeping important survival literature only in a digital format 


B) It is easier and almost as cheap (by the time you add up printer ink and paper) to go ahead and buy the book rather than print it out on my own.

Didn't Hubby Dear do a good job with his inaugural post on the blog? Maybe if I'm really nice he'll agree to do a guest post or two.  :) Do you have any topics related to medicine that you'd be interested in seeing on the blog?

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