Post-apocalyptic Healthcare

Last week, my three year old daughter had some awesome and fun medical adventures that required a trip to emergency and a few trips to the doctor’s office.
While I was taking my daughter back and forth from the ER to the doctor’s office (and back to the doctor’s office), I thought about what healthcare would be like post apocalypse. My daughter needed staples to close up a nasty gash on her head and antibiotics to combat an infection. Today, we can get that kind of treatment. But what about during the chaotic days immediately after the apocalypse?
There will probably be first aid and/or emergency stations, at least in the beginning. I’m sure that, regardless of what actually happens, people will be injured and will die during the apocalypse. I’d like to think that there will be places those people can go to get help.

But what about afterward, after the apocalypse has happened and people are wandering around like zombies (but aren’t actually zombies)? Will those first aid places still be available? What happens when they start to run out of supplies? We all know that people won’t stop dying just because the apocalyptic event stops. People will still become sick, injured, and dead. It’s inevitable.
The question becomes how will we take care of them?
At some point in time, it might be more practical to abandon those who aren’t as healthy as they can be. A very injured person will slow you down, will make you vulnerable. But not everyone will be in serious condition. Not at first, anyway, but a seemingly mild cut can become infected. People can take a turn for the worse very quickly.
So how will we fix people when there are no hospitals, doctors, or pharmacies stocked with Percocet?
Personally, I would start making preparations now. Supplies (including medicine) will start running low not too long after the apocalypse occurs. I know my supply of Band-Aids will run out eventually, so I should probably start studying what other things would make good substitutes now, while I still can. And since I, for one, don’t want to rely on pharmacy raids for medicine, I think it’s a good idea to study herbalism and other “natural” substitutes. (Of course, the possibility of using herbs will depend on what kind of event destroys the world, but it never hurts to be prepared.) And actually knowing first aid beyond the Heimlich maneuver and dialing 911 can’t hurt, either.
Since I would like to think that most people won’t leave others to die by the dusty roadside, you’re going to have to figure out first aid and healthcare for your survivor group. Of course, only your group can decide what’s best and what works for the group. Every group’s plan will be different.
Here are some things you should think about:

  • Will you have a trained doctor/nurse/medic/first aid person in your group? If not, should you? Will it be important?
  • Does your group have a well-stocked first aid supply? What, exactly, do you have in your stash?
  • Where will you get your supplies once your initial stash runs out? Can you make/create/assemble your own supplies?
  • What will you do for basic medicine? Will you raid other another group’s supply? Will you use more natural methods like herbalism, if your post-apocalyptic environment allows plant growth?
  • How sick or injured does a person have to be before they’re abandoned? How long/how much effort will the group put toward treating the sick and injured?

These are just some of the things you and your group will have to consider when figuring out first aid/healthcare. But it couldn’t hurt to start getting your apocalypse first aid kit together now. While you’re at it, maybe get your first aid certification too.

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