When there is no doctor, someone in your group should be assigned the responsibilities of group medic. Some people feel that this is a daunting task, and it certainly will be a challenge to accumulate adequate medical stores and obtain the medical knowledge necessary to be a healthcare provider. Those who are willing to step up and take responsibility for the medical well-being of their loved ones will be special individuals, with a special mission.
Medical Training and Being a Medic
If you have chosen to pick up the flag, your first assignment is to get some training. Some of it will be book learning, and some will be hands-on; the more you learn the better. Study basic first aid and have a good book on family medicine. A good start is to learn as much anatomy and physiology as possible. Anatomy is the blueprint of the body, and physiology is the operating manual. With a working knowledge of these two subjects, you’re in a better position to understand disease and injury. They’re essential for you to become a successful medic for your group.
The most important asset needed to become a competent healthcare provider for your group is just having common sense. A sensible person with good medical supplies, a few medical books and a willingness to learn will be an effective medical resource. In a collapse situation, such an individual would perhaps be more useful than a physician who has spent his or her career reading X-rays for a living and not dealing with actual live patients.
It helps to have a calm demeanor, as sick or injured people need comforting and a caregiver with a level head. Another useful attribute of a good medic is the dedication to teach other members of his/her group some of the skills that he/she learned. You can’t be everywhere at once, and the basics aren’t that hard to teach. Cross-training is important, as the medic may one day need a medic!
Confidentiality is another important factor to success as a medical resource. You will have to interview your group members so that you have all the information you need to keep them healthy. Sometimes that information includes things that your patient doesn’t want to be made public. You must never disclose anything that would make others see you as untrustworthy.
There is one last essential characteristic of the successful medic: Self-preservation! This may sound strange to you, but you are an indispensable resource to your entire group. If you place yourself frequently in harm’s way, you will eventually find yourself as the patient more often than you or anyone else would like. Always assess the scene of an injury to determine if you can care for the victim without placing yourself in undue danger. If someone has a gunshot wound, it stands to reason that there’s a guy with a gun out there! Always remember that you do a disservice to your survival community by becoming the next casualty.