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Episode 56 S2-21

Rib Fracture


Special Guest:

Without Land Ch 21

Lisa Goodwin

The Without Land adventure finds Erika recovering from her training session in the ring.  The nurse assesses her for physical injuries and among them is a broken rib. Here to talk with us today about how to identify, treat and reduce pain from a rib fracture in a long term survival situation is Lisa Goodwin author of Prepping A to Z, The Series of Prepping Books and How to Be Prepared and co-host of The Survivalist Prepper Podcast.

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During her day Lisa Goodwin specializes as a nurse in orthopedics. Having started as a certified nursing assistant and then getting a bachelors degree in nursing, she is currently working on getting her certification in wound care. She is concerned about wound care in particular because she understands that something as simple as a cut or blister could be life threatening in a grid down situation.


Rib fractures, like the one Erika sustained, could happen in a number of ways. Generally the rib is fractured from a sharp blow to the chest. It could be from an altercation or a fall. I could happen in a car accident or if you are involved in a large animals incident. Many accidents are potential causes of a broken rib.


Certain symptoms the victim displays will let you know that they did indeed break their rib. They may complain of moderate to severe pain in their chest. Severe pain when breathing. Make sure you take special note of their ability to breath deeply, if there is any sign of an issue, this individual should be evaluated by a medical professional immediately. Since the ribs guard our chest cavity, a fractured rib can puncture a lung or lacerate the spleen. There are also many major blood vessels located under the rib cage, which could be severed due to a fracture of the rib.


If three or more ribs are fractured at once it can wreck the chest support system and collapse the victim's lung, referred to as flail chest. This condition requires the lung to be re-inflated using a tube. A medically trained professional has the expertise to do this but it would not be a good situation in a long term survival scenario. Someone who has had a pheumothorax or a collapsed lung in the past are more susceptible to having this occur again in the future. 


You should try to include an EMT (Emergency Medical Technician), paramedic or medically trained professional in your survival group. Someone needs to know medical procedures! EMT courses are available at local colleges so you can take the class yourself and study survival medicine sites online but a person in your survival group has to know this stuff.


Dental concerns will also have a major impact in a long term survival situation. Lisa recommends the book When There is No Dentist as an important book to add to your survival library.


When a victim is identified as having a fractured rib, they should rest and their activities should be restricted. They should not do any lifting for at least six weeks and it may take longer to heal if the victim's nutrition is lacking.


There is going to be a lot of pain. Ice should be applied. In a grid down situation you should have the ice packs that crack and become cold so you don't have to rely upon your freezer. The ice should be applied for 10 min on and then 10 min off. Do not leave it on to long or the ice can cause damage to the victim's skin. Tylenol or acetaminophen is the pain reliever of choice. Ibuprofen, Aleve or nonsteroidal medications can increase the risk of a hematoma or bleeding under the skin. These nonsteroidal medications can also interfere with bone healing. 


In the long term the patient should be concerned with receiving another blow to the same area. In the healing process a spur may have been left behind. This spur can cause internal damage if it is driven back into the chest cavity. You will have to face that risk in a long term survival situation. Nowadays it is recommended that people with these concerns wear a chest protector when engaging in physical activities. It may not be a bad idea to try and fashion one in a long term survival scenario if you have this concern. 


Do not use a compression wrap for a fractured rib! You can't breath deeply with it on and you want to do all you can to encourage the patient to breath. Without proper breathing the lung can collapse or fluid can build up and cause pneumonia. Encourage the person with the fracture to take 10-12 deep breaths, 3-4 times a day.

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Without Land Ch 21

Lisa Goodwin

Lisa Goodwin published her first fiction novel in 2011, and has subsequently been adding more titles as the years have passed. With a love of horses, and thrifty living, "Building Your On Horse Jumps" began the non-fiction journey.


Lisa is also a part of the popular podcast duo of Survivalist Prepper with her husband Dale, a weekly podcast covering ways to become more self-reliant, and learning skills that many have forgotten, the book series "A to Z Living a More Prepared and Self-Reliant Lifestyle" became a reality. Check back to often for new titles!

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