*Survival at Sea Part 1*
This short article was written to provide some tips and insight into how to prepare for the healthcare needs of a small group of folks during a 1 to 2 week offshore ocean trip that involves very limited access to outside medical resources.
We've packed our aid bag for the type of situations that we might anticipate the most obvious being.. aches and pains, scrapes and minor lacerations, possible nasal/dental trauma (the boom or falls), sea sickness and skin irritations, just to name a few. I've included some common broad spectrum antibiotics to cover a possible wide range of GI/GU or upper respiratory problems. I've also included some narcotic pain meds should the worst situation befall one of the crew.
For our offshore aid bad, we had considered including advanced airway equipment and ALS situations, but decided that the likelihood of needing ET intubation or advanced life support interventions and the extremely limited likelihood of survival, so far from advanced resources (coast guard). it was not worth the weight and space. If you are as far away from help as we think we will be, and are so sick or injured that this aid bag can't help you...you are a dead man. It's that simple. We all know that.
In packing this bag, I had to prepare for the possible needs of 7 men, myself included, for an offshore sailing trip lasting approximately 2 weeks (women, of course, add another dimension that should be considered for an additional article). Also, two of the crew are older guys (56+) and attention should be paid to the special needs of an older crew, as I have tried to do.
Let's not forget the key point in any medical preparation; be responsible for yourself, first and foremost. If you require medication or special medical needs, prepare accordingly, pack your own small kit. Let your compatriots and medical personnel know, but do not count on others. Here is a look at an offshore aidbag.
This type of aid bag should be comprehensive but does not necessarily need the weight and size considerations that a tactical aid bag like Witchdoc6s' does.
The primary pack I use is a recycled EMS jump bag. It's large enough to hold the amount of supplies I'll need and it is bright orange so no one can miss it. The down side to this particular bag is a lack of divided pocket space. I overcame this by packing group supplies in large heavy duty Ziploc bags, both for convenience and moisture reduction. Two large side pockets and the inner cover flap attachments are the only intrinsic equipment supply dividers. I separated all PO, PR, IV, topical medications and syringes into a separate smaller back-backers aid bag and keep my supply of IV antibiotics with the IV fluid bags. (The actual packing numbers are what I've put in the bag, the following photos are only a representation of what the supplies and equipment actually were.) I also had the crew include a personal info-medic alert sheet.
In the main body of the bag;
In separate Ziploc bags;
Dental/ Nasal Kit:
Dressing/ splinting Material:
Med Bag (in no particular order):
Actual Meds (based on a single adult):
Gloves and miscellanea:
Don't laugh or blow this off. Think of it like this. when your finger just got snipped off, or your ankle was just broken and is lying at a 45 degree angle. booze... It works mostly for psychological reasons anyway...and Black Rum is the best.
Stay tuned for the next edition of Safety at Sea.
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