Episode 239 S7-1
Post Collapse Hospital Care
Hope on the Horizon Ch 1
In the event of a societal collapse, the realities of hospital care are grim. Recent examples of societal failures like those of Argentina and Venezuela can give us a brief glimpse of advanced medical care. On the podcast today, we begin book seven in The Changing Earth Series, Hope on the Horizon. The story starts with the characters looking for medical care in a devastated landscape, prompting Chin and me to take a look at what we can expect in a post-collapse society when medical attention is needed.
Societal collapse is the reality for some countries that existed as advanced modern societies in the not so distant past. Terrifying stories that residents share can give us a glimpse of what might become of modern medical facilities. Using the lessons learned from these experiences, you can begin to prepare for the contingency when help may not be on the way.
When Argentina experience a collapse, there were still some individuals whose circumstances were not as dire as the majority of the population. With full access to medical care, one might assume that they would be healthy. However, the general population was hungry and their immune systems were not as resilient. Diseases that were not common to first world countries started to invade and were making all of the people sick.
Many of the hospitals in Argentina experienced prolonged power outages and supply shortages for the facilities. Power outages halted services. Backup generators were silent as supplies of gasoline ran dry. As the lights went out, the medicines ran out. Basics like Ibuprofen were hoarded and increased in value on the black market.
In Venezuela today, people needing medical attention are in dire straights after their recent societal collapse. When food is scarce, malnutrition runs rapid. Infections and disease become quickly become critical situations under these circumstances—these patients flood hospitals, seeking care.
Serratia marcescens, a hospital-acquired bacteria, multiplied in uncontrollable numbers as cleaning supplies ran out. Without the ability to sanitize the area, a slurry of bacteria embraced the unhygienic environment. An uptick in the use of open fire and kerosene lanterns help create more patients needing care.
Venezuela’s medical supplies are also becoming scarce. Imagine supplying your gloves and masks for the doctors, needles and medication for them to give you and then when the doctors finish their work, cleaning supplies to clean your own room! This terrifying reality is what Venezuelan citizens are facing right now.
The lack of supplies only adds to the inability to nourish the population. Malnourished women face significant risks when going through childbirth. The emaciated children are left screaming without catheters to provide hydration to their fragile bodies. The mortality rate for both has increased along with cases of measles, diphtheria, tuberculosis and malaria.
The situation in Venezuela is turning grimmer. Seventy-one percent of emergency rooms can’t provide essential services, and seventy-nine percent don’t even have a reliable supply of water! Between 2012-1017 twenty-two thousand doctors left Venezuela for work where they have access to more pay and proper supplies. Venezuela’s people are begging the world for help. There are no specialists left and the people are worried that soon no doctors will remain.
These horrific examples have key messages regarding preparation, for those willing to learn them. The best way to be physically ready for a time when you may not have access to a medical facility is to develop a healthy lifestyle now so you won’t need it then. There are so many conditions that plague the American population that proper diet and exercise can heal, rather than medication. Stock what you can now but know that one day, your supplies will run out. If you can improve your medical condition through diet and exercise, why not do it?
The reality is that our current system could not exist if society were to collapse. The sterile environments that help ensure safety during critical procedures would be a thing of the past. If you have EMTs or Paramedics in your survival group, that’s great but remember, they focus on stabilization and transportation, not disease prevention and long term care.
Train everyone in the group in medical practices. Take every class you can, including: Stop the Bleed, Trauma, and CPR with a gigantic focus on wilderness medicine. Learn about herbal remedies. This knowledge will be especially important if you have a chronic condition that requires medication to sustain your life—however, the more educated people in your group, the better.
Don’t stock products that you don’t know how to use correctly. It would be absurd to randomly take pills to attempt to solve a problem when you have no idea what they are or could do. Invest in resources like the Physicians Desk Reference, The Survival Medical Handbook by Dr. Bones, a good anatomy book, and a good physiology book. Build a library of references for future use.
Stock all the medicines and supplies you can now. Pills will last longer than syrups or gel caps. Remember the basics like antiseptics, Aspirin, Ibuprofen, and anti-diarrheal medication. Know that you will never have enough bandages. When people have severe bleeds, they bleed a lot! Have first aid kits and tourniquets. There are some great lists in The Survival Blog’s post by Dr. Daniel Stickler.
Do not overlook the value of cleaning and hygienic supplies. Medical providers must have access to gloves and masks to protect their patients and you will need to provide them if you want to ensure your safety. Stock bars of soap and know how to make it. Even the cleanest water contains bacteria and needs purification for bacterial removal. Include adequate amounts of Iodide and Chlorine in your preparation supplies.
It may be necessary to build a quarantine room. Rolls of plastic, tarps, and sturdy tape are essential to create a barrier In this circumstance. You will need bins or totes to wash shoes, clothes, rags and more.
Hospital care, as we know it, is held together by a fragile balance of medical supplies, sanitary supplies, essential utilities and individuals willing to provide critical care. It is a dance that seems to happen for American citizens seamlessly. The delicate supply and demand tango can be easily destroyed in the event of societal collapse as witnessed around the world. No matter what the future brings, it is every individual's responsibility to take charge of your healthcare and take measures to meet the needs of yourself and those of your family.
The Changing Earth Series
Chin Gibson is the mystery prepper. Friend to all and known to none. His real identity hidden from the public, Chin is well known to the online prepper community as the go to resource for finding a community member to solve your problem. He is an awesome people connector and does his best to unite the voices educating the masses about being ready for a unforeseen life challenge. Chin will be joining Sara to co-host The Changing Earth Podcast.