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Joe Knight

Medical Moderator

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Hello Everyone:

 

My name is Joe Knight and I'm a retired Physician Assistant (PA). I went to the Army PA school and was a battalion surgeon in Germany, then a battalion surgeon in the arctic infantry in Alaska. I retired from the military in 1993, worked as a PA in the civilian world, and retired from civilian practice in 2005 so I could pursue my dream of becoming a writer. I’ve been very successful so far as a medical writer, and enjoy continuing to write.

 

My interests are all over the place – my main interest is survival medicine, but I also enjoy medieval history and working-out with medieval weapons (much to the chagrin of my kids) and hitting the gym three-four times-a-week (the “growing old gracefully” thing is a bunch of BS). I’ve got a B.S. in biology and did some master’s work in geology, so any kind of science interests me. I enjoy history and science writing, but my main interest is medical writing.

 

I would be happy to answer any questions related to survival medicine, as long as you keep in mind that we’re talking SURVIVAL medicine. I won’t tell you how to transplant a kidney or how to do major surgery, but when one is in a survival situation, all kinds of medical issues are going to crop up. Think malnutrition, lice, infections, cold weather and heat injuries – I think you get my drift. Feel free to ask any questions you want – if I don’t feel I can answer them or if I feel what you’re asking is beyond a non-medical person’s capabilities, I’ll be honest and let you know. But there is so much you’re going to NEED to know so you and your tribe can stay healthy, so feel free to ask. I’ve had a lot of medical articles published, so if your question can be answered by reading one of my articles, I’ll give you the link.

 

So, let the fun begin…..

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Joe,

Thanks for being "here" for us.

I think this forum is a great idea and have been looking for something like this.

while not yet a full on survival type, I have always been watching and waiting and prepaired for SHTF. My son (13) has followed in my concern and is also starting to prep and work out a plan should we not be together when it comes.

 

I look forward to your medical knowledge and want to thank you for sharing with us.

It will be good to have some knowledge of what to do w/o meds when something we consider trivial now, could kill us w/o the meds to treat.

Just consider what will face anyone who requires insulin if they have no electric power for several weeks and no viable source with no daily resupply coming in...

Thanks,

Xcal

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Well I hate to start out with an unusual question, not directly related to injuries, but you seem knowledgeable, particularly on the subject too.

 

I was planning on getting into the medical field, and I'm joining the National Guard. I'm 17 and want a good life, I was planning on becoming an Army Medic in some way shape or form then leaving and becoming a doctor that specializes in how food and vitamins, minerals, amino acids, etc. affect the human body, I can't seem to find out what the name of a person doing this would be or even if there is a job like this. But would you recommend it? I hate gross things but don't mind being a doctor, one of the most useful survival jobs. Do you think this is a good choice, and is there a name for a job like this?

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Well, you’ve got several lines of thought going here, so let’s hit them one-at-a-time:

 

1. You want to join the NG. This is excellent – not only for your country but for yourself. The Guard is patterned after the Army, so I’ll tell you what to expect:

 

First, you’ll go to Basic Training, where they turn civilians into soldiers. After BT, you’ll go to school (called Advanced Individual Training, or AIT) to learn a specific job, called an MOS (for Military Occupational Specialist). After that, since you’ll be Guard, I’m not exactly sure what the training requirements are, but I think it’s one weekend-per-month and two-weeks-per-year (if I’m wrong, anyone can feel free to correct me). Now, in your case, you’ll want to request school for a Field Medic

 

2. You may hate gross things, but if your unit is activated and sent somewhere to fight, you’re going to see a lot of “gross” things, so you’re just gonna have to suck it up and deal with it. And in a post-SHTF world, you’ll see things you couldn’t possibly imagine, so learn your training well – not just for the buddy’s in your unit, but for your family/tribe after everything falls apart

 

3. Now, as far as being a doctor specializing in nutrition, vitamins, etc, you may want to look a becoming a naturopath, a homeopath or a nutritionist; however, none of those jobs are going to be useful in a post-SHTF world. If you want to become seriously useful to your tribe after everything falls apart out there, you’ll bust your butt while in the Guard, learning everything you can about medicine (along with non-medical training). I would suggest going out for the Expert Field Medicine Badge (EFMB) and the Combat Care Casualty Course (called “C4” in military jargon). You can google either of these and learn more

 

I hope this gives you a good overview. Feel free to ask any follow-up questions and good luck to you!

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That really set my mind straight, thanks.

 

About the Guard, you were right it is a weekend a month and 2-3 weeks in the summer, which isn't bad. People were always scaring me into thinking I would get deployed but I don't think I will. As for being a medic, I probably should get used to gross things lol. I was just wondering what kind of medic job I should get when I leave the NG if S-/-HTF. But assuming it does its a good career to pursue, especially seeing in the army I would be used to it anyways. I would hope that I would mostly be treating civilian wounds as I don't want to fight in a war. I love fighting but I don't want to really kill anyone (unless I have too) until I'm 40 or so because my uncle was deployed to Afghanistan and had to gun down 17 people and he is now drunk every night and crazy. But being a medic seems to be the perfect combo between fighting and home skills so I think its a sure shot plan. Nutrition wouldn't be the biggest deal in SHTF but it sure would matter. I been watching documentaries and similar media and a lot of sources say just eating/drinking fruit/fruit juice for 30 days can cure most problems people have (like Fibromialgsia, headaches, etc...) and this especially concerned me because I have Crohn's disease and if SHTF and I don't get my meds I'm going to have too seek alternatives. Which is another thing that would be interesting to discuss sometime, "alternative medicine for SHTF" but anyways.

 

Thanks for all your knowledge, I'll be sure to use it!

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You’re welcome, of course.

 

I have several concerns that I want you to consider before jumping onto the Guard:

 

1. If you have Crohn’s, that might eliminate you from joining. The military doesn’t want to have people come in that have chronic, debilitating medical issues that may affect training or deployment. If you’re in already and develop a medical problem, that’s a different issue – once you’re “in”, your butt belongs to Sam and he’s responsible for taking care of you. So I would check with the recruiter before you go filling out endless forms and testing only to find you’re not qualified

 

2. If you’re in the Guard and TSHTF, you’re not “leaving” anywhere. The first thing the President if going to do is declare martial law, and it’s the Guard that is the first ones called out. And if martial law is declared, and a Guardsman decides to not report in or, worse yet, to desert, you literally can be shot for desertion. I’m not a violent person by any stretch of the imagination, but if you take an oath “to protect and defend”, then you decide that you would just rather go home instead of doing your share in keeping law and order, you deserve to be shot. OK, if not shot, then a rather long-term visit to Fort Leavenworth (the military prison) would be in order. Along with a dishonorable discharge.

 

3. A lot of troops who have returned from the Middle East suffer from Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD); however, the military had finally pulled their collective heads out of their collective asses and now recognize it as a real disease entity and offer counseling and treatment to troops returning to the Unites States. You may want to drag your uncle kicking and screaming down to a veteran’s center. If he won’t go, contact the vet’s center and they’ll send a couple of veterans that have been in battle out to talk to him. If he needs help, he needs to get it now. Many of our Vietnam vets suffer from the same problem, but PTSD wasn’t recognized back then, and here we are, 40 years later and many of these guys still haven’t recovered from their trauma

 

4. I’m not big into alternative medicine, only because I’ve practiced conventional medicine for 40 years. I’m not denigrating alternative medicine, but if you see advertisements on TV for something to treat a medical condition, it needs some serious researching. The FDA was established in the ‘30s specifically in an effort to weed-out snake oil salesmen; however, today, there are so many loopholes in the law that it’s almost worthless. So before you seek alternatives to conventional medicine, do your homework. What to do in a post-SHTF world is going to be difficult – I don’t want to sound callous, but a lot of folks with chronic diseases simply aren’t going to make it because the technology (machines, medication manufacturing, etc) is simply going to disappear.

 

Hope that answers your questions, New Hampshire.

 

Now, let’s bring on some medical questions….

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Joe,

I'm currently in nursing school (1 year from graduation). I've been through a few of my clinical rotations but haven't had anything really jump out at me as far as a specialization / focus is concerned. Any ideas on what specializations (MedSurg, ER, etc.)may teach useful skills in a SHTF situation and aftermath?

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People were always scaring me into thinking I would get deployed but I don't think I will.

They are trying to prepare you for the real world. If you are not willing to be deployed, don't join. The Guard, like the active duty military, is there to perform its primary mission of defense of the nation. This involves (forgive the PC) "violent kinetic military action" and you serve at the pleasure of the president. Folks who think it is some kind of training program or rescue service don't understand the idea of a standing militia. Just like the flight attendant on your airline flight is NOT there to serve you coffee or cokes, her job is to get everyone out of that aluminum tube in less than 90 seconds with the thing on fire, the guards job is to be an immediate reserve force for the military and secondarily to give the state governor a disciplined force he can deploy at need. If you join, PLAN on deployment. If it doesn't happen, great but you never have a right to complain if it does happen.

...

I would hope that I would mostly be treating civilian wounds as I don't want to fight in a war. I love fighting but I don't want to really kill anyone (unless I have too) until I'm 40 or so because my uncle was deployed to Afghanistan and had to gun down 17 people and he is now drunk every night and crazy.

 

General Colin Powell very correctly stated, "The job of the military is to kill people and break things". Before you enlist in the military you must accept that your job is to either kill and destroy at the order of the government of the US or to assist others to do so. Everything else, every rescue, every save, every humanitarian mission is predicated on using the implements of death and destruction for another use. If it was kill and destroy all the time we humans could not tolerate it but it must be in the background for every military member and there is nothing magic about being 40 or any other age. When I was a Pershing missile officer my job was to be ready to put a nuclear warhead on a target, even if hundreds of thousands died. If you can't accept "killing people and breaking things" then the military is not for you. Police, fire and rescue services have different missions; missions more congenial, it appears, to the life choices you would like to make.

That is a very stark presentation of the military role but the fact is that at the very bottom, those who choose the military life choose to put themselves between us and the evil of the world. They depend on the civilian government to identify that evil (your votes count!) but once it is identified they have pledged to stop it or die trying using any means at their disposal.

 

I mean no disrespect, sir, nor do I belittle your noble desire to serve others. I just do not want you to enter into a role that you do not appear to fully understand. There are other ways to serve your country and your fellow citizens that do not involve the use of ultimate violence. I too have known veterans who could not deal with the magnitude of what they were called to do. To their credit the taking of live was abhorrent to them. Unfortunately they could not find the support to allow themselves to live with their memories. We call it PTSD now and it can kill its victims.

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Hi,

 

This is Dr. Bones, and I would recommend getting as much ER experience as possible. When you are involved in the care of ER patients, you will have a good idea of some of the issues that you will see in a collapse situation. Visualize how you would deal with the same patient if the power is down.

 

Having said that, Med-surg, Critical Care, etc. all will give you valuable experience. The bottom line is to do what you truly find fulfilling. Remember, you have a life to live even if the you-know-what DOESN'T hit the fan....

 

Dr. Bones

http://doctorbonesandamyshow.blogspot.com/2011/04/what-if-you-know-what-doesnt-hit-fan.html

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Hello Murjd17:

 

I fully agree with Dr. Bones. The Emergency Department is the BEST place to learn, well, emergency medicine, which will be almost anything beyond a cut or blister in a post-SHTF world. If I may add, most hospitals carry-out mass-casualty (mass-cal) drills and you should volunteer to be involved in as many of them as possible. In your typical day in the ER, it's unlikely you'd be involved in an ugly thing called triage, but in a mass-casualty situation, triage will be mandatory - you want to save as many lives as possible, even if it involves letting others pass-away. In a post-SHTF world, the severe lack of medical equipment and supplies is going to MANDATE triage, so you may as well get used to the concept in a world where, like Dr. Bones say, you still have electricity.

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Need more pages of discussion please. You guys are FASCINATING!

Capt Bart I am giving you a wet sloppy kiss right now for your clarifying what most just don't get in regards to flight

attendants being there to get you out of a burning aircraft in under 90 seconds. Not just to ask you... Chicken or beef, coffee or tea etc. Damn!

You articulated and clarified your points so nicely can't wait to read more of your responses.

I am very pro alternative and will be interested to see if I can find forums on alternative ways to treat things.

For example I have been working like a maniac today creating my bugbag and I went to a pharmacy and read the ingrediants in one of the lice treatments. It was Star Of Anise Oil. Actually it was the MAIN ingrediant. Why cant I just go buy that

and combine it with Shampoo?

Err the end.

I dont have a cool way to taper off and leave..

So... good night LOL

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