The Survival Doctor

The latest posts from The Survival Doctor

by James Hubbard, MD, MPH

In the medical field, other than death, nothing is absolute. One radio interviewer told me recently he would never be comfortable about the Ebola risks until we knew absolutely everything about it and there was zero risk for everyone. Guess what. He’s never going to be comfortable.

Part of the Ebola fear fuel in America right now is the fact that we don’t know everything about this disease. And when questions arise, people come out of the woodwork with answers, whether they know what they’re talking about or not. Often, their answers boil down to: Well, we don’t know, but maybe, and if so, yikes!

All I know to do is go with what we do know now. As with any disease, we can ask: How much at risk are we? Can we can change any of our actions to reduce our risk? Is it worth it to us to change those actions? And if what we know changes, we can reassess the risk.

The facts, for now, Oct 20, 2014:

  • Ebola kills big-time; 50-70 percent mortality rate with this strain. (Keep in mind, [... continue reading]
Author: LAwordsmith
Posted: October 20, 2014, 10:00 am

by James Hubbard, MD, MPH

If you read my post about Hands-Only CPR Monday, you know that I believe the American Heart Association’s guidelines leave room for interpretation. So my team emailed them to see if they could officially clarify some points.

Here’s part of the response from Kailey Shatzer, communications manager. It addresses some issues related to Hands-Only CPR, a trademarked term for doing chest compressions only (no mouth-to-mouth), but doesn’t clarify completely.

First, Shatzer explained the rationale for not doing respirations (mouth-to-mouth) in most teens and adults:

… when a teen or adult suddenly collapses with cardiac arrest, his or her lungs and blood contain enough oxygen to keep vital organs healthy for the first few minutes, as long as someone provides high-quality chest compressions with minimal interruption to pump blood to the heart and brain. This is the rationale for Hands-Only CPR for these folks.

Then, Shatzer answered our question about bullet point three in the AHA’s guidelines. That point says respirations are still recommended for “anyone found already unconscious and not breathing normally.” I assumed this referred to people who are exhibiting agonal breathing (which, [... continue reading]

Author: LAwordsmith
Posted: October 13, 2014, 10:00 am

by James Hubbard, MD, MPH

A child collapses; there’s no sign of life. You call for help and start CPR. But wait. Didn’t you hear somewhere that they say now not to do the respirations part? Just do Hands-Only CPR? Or are kids one of the exceptions?

Well, whatever you do, do something, and do it quick.

When to Add the Breathing

These days, Hands-Only CPR is the way to go in most situations for people who aren’t medical professionals. It’s easier; it works as well as adding respirations, at least most of the time. And the feeling is, it’ll help more people act and act quicker.

But there are exceptions.

The American Heart Association recommends CPR with a combination of breaths and compressions for:

  • All infants (up to age 1)
  • Children (up to puberty)
  • Anyone found already unconscious and not breathing normally
  • Any victims of drowning, drug overdose, collapse due to breathing problems, or prolonged cardiac arrest

Source: American Heart Association, “Hands-Only CPR.”

But What Does That Mean?

Now, truthfully, I wonder about these guidelines.

With children with no signs of life, yes. Do the mouth-to-mouth (or mouth-to-nose-and-mouth). In fact, a breathing [... continue reading]

Author: LAwordsmith
Posted: October 6, 2014, 8:22 pm

by James Hubbard, MD, MPH

I’m really excited.

Today, my new online training course is finally available to you!

It’s taken me over a year to put together this professionally produced project, and I think it has turned out fantastic. In The Survival Doctor’s Emergencies Training Course, you’ll learn some of the lifesaving knowledge that I’ve amassed over 30 years of practicing medicine. I cover some of my readers’ most-often-worried-about questions, and I teach you how I’d handle common life-threatening medical problems, in easy-to-understand language and with minimal medical equipment.

Here’s a preview:

What do you think?

But you’ll get even more than these videos. There are quizzes, printable transcripts, and downloadable audio files to listen to on the go. Plus, we’ll all connect and learn from each other in an exclusive Facebook group just for students.

Master Program

If you’re really ready to take your medical knowledge to the next level, you should also know that right now, I’m accepting students into my exclusive Master program.

This program includes the entire video course (including all the quizzes and downloads) plus five interactive online workshops with me. You can even invite a friend to train with [... continue reading]

Author: LAwordsmith
Posted: September 30, 2014, 11:35 pm

Here’s an exclusive behind-the-scenes sneak peek at The Survival Doctor’s Emergency Training Course.

It’s my new video course that’s over a year in the making, and I’ve crafted it especially for my readers who want to gain confidence in their medical skills.

To celebrate it releasing, I’ve also create a new free minicourse on how to save a life confidently.

Sign up below to get started with the free minicourse.

Update: The minicourse is now closed. But you can still get into my video-based, online training course. Click here to learn more.

Want to find out about future minicourses? Subscribe to The Survival Doctor (free):

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Author: LAwordsmith
Posted: September 27, 2014, 10:00 am

Special note: I’ve crafted an exciting new course especially for my readers who want to gain confidence with saving a life. Don’t miss the end of this post for more.

by James Hubbard, MD, MPH

You’re in the midst of a storm. The streets are dangerous for travel. There’s no electricity and cell phones are not working. You notice movement outside your window and watch your neighbor drop slowly to the ground.

After making sure the scene is safe—no strange, suspicious-looking people or animals, etc.—you grab your pepper spray, just in case, and go out to check on him.

He’s awake but lethargic, says he’s just not feeling well and wants to sleep. He lives alone and was coming over to your house for help.

You have no idea what’s going on, and he’s no help. In fact, he’s snoring now.

What can you do? The possible causes of an altered mental status make up a pretty long list if you include the many you’re probably not going to think of.

Well, how about doing what we medical people do sometimes? Use a special trick to [... continue reading]

Author: James Hubbard, M.D., M.P.H.
Posted: September 22, 2014, 9:59 am

When treating a tension pneumothorax, place the needle and catheter above the third rib, about 2 inches from the edge of the breastbone. (Click illustration to enlarge.)

by James Hubbard, MD, MPH

In my “What to Do for a Collapsed Lung” post, I promised future information on what to do for one of a collapsed lung’s most dangerous variants, a tension pneumothorax. So here it is.

This post covers an advanced procedure, but the procedure can save a life. If medical personnel aren’t able to get to the victim, you’ll likely be the only one around who’s even heard of this technique. So stay with me …

The Scenario

Your buddy’s been stabbed in the chest. You’ve taped up the chest wound as best you can—sealed it with petroleum jelly and gauze, as described in the collapsed-lung post, so air doesn’t get sucked in through it. But the ambulance isn’t coming anytime soon and your buddy is getting worse fast.

You check her over one more time, looking for things like bleeding or other wounds that could be causing her to go downhill. You find none.

You listen to her chest [... continue reading]

Author: LAwordsmith
Posted: September 16, 2014, 10:00 am

U.S. soldiers practice rescuing during medical training at Fort Hood, Texas, in 2011. The soldiers are assigned to the 1st Brigade Combat Team, 1st Cavalry Division.

by James Hubbard, MD, MPH

You’re driving down a highway when the car in front of you swerves to avoid something. You swerve too—right off the road.

You are able to stop on the grass, but the other car can’t. It flips and the driver is ejected. You find him lying on the ground, bleeding, groaning, but otherwise not responding.

At this point, what’s the number-one thing you’ll avoid doing if possible, even though it might be tempting?

Answer: moving him—unless you do it the right way.

In my last post I discussed the initial steps I’d suggest if you found someone unconscious. One of them is not to move the person unless you have to for safety. That’s a big deal.

But if you do have to move the person, there is a safe(r) way to do it. It’s called a logroll.

Why Not Move the Person?

If you find someone unconscious, you must assume they could have a spinal injury unless you know for [... continue reading]

Author: LAwordsmith
Posted: September 8, 2014, 10:00 am

Unconscious. What would you do?

by James Hubbard, MD, MPH

Here’s a scenario that happens more often than you might think. You come home from work and find your loved one lying unconscious on the floor in your house. What would you do?

Call 911? Sure. A#1 yes. But what can you do until first responders get there? Or what if they’re running late, or can’t get there at all? It happens. You need a system: First do this, then do this.

Okay, first thing after calling for help?

Your answer: _______________________


My answer:

  • Make sure you’re safe. Yeah, if it’s your loved one you’re going to make a beeline but remember to look around. What if there’s an intruder, a wild animal? If you’re the next victim you’re not going to be of much help. Same thing when you’re stopping to help with a highway accident. Every year people get hurt when they open their door and a car slams into it.

    Next? (Think about it before you read my suggestion.)

    Your answer: ________________________


    My answer:

    2. Check for signs of life. How? Check for breathing; yell, “Hey, are [... continue reading]

    Author: James Hubbard, M.D., M.P.H.
    Posted: September 1, 2014, 1:50 pm

    by James Hubbard, MD, MPH

    When you’re sick and go to the doctor, one of the first things we often do is feel your neck. We’re looking for swelling in certain places, which can indicate an infection.

    So if your child gets sick and you’re unable to get expert help, if there’s swelling in the neck, that can give you clues about what’s going on.

    Here, I’ll talk about three causes: strep throat, mumps, and diphtheria. In the U.S., strep throat is the most common. Because of childhood immunizations, mumps is much less frequent these days, and diphtheria is virtually wiped out. But it is still around in other countries and is occasionally seen here.

    What Causes the Swelling

    The swelling is usually from enlarged lymph nodes under the jaw and on the sides of the neck. These lymph nodes, or glands, are just doing their job to try to catch an above-the-neck infection (like in the ear, throat, or face) and keep it from spreading.

    Neck swelling from mumps comes from a different source: an infected parotid gland. Parotid glands produce saliva to keep your mouth moist. They’re [... continue reading]

    Author: LAwordsmith
    Posted: August 25, 2014, 10:00 am

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