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Thread: Wilderness First Aid Book Recommendation?

  1. #1
    Senior Member billski's Avatar
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    Wilderness First Aid Book Recommendation?

    Wilderness First Aid Book Recommendation?

    I'm looking for a good wilderness medicine book to read while on an extended trip. I recognize it's not a substitute for hands-on training, but I'll have extensive downtime and this is my current area of interest. To short-circuit comments about experiental training, I wholeheartedly agree and am engaging in said courses.

    I've recently completed a WFA course and expect to take the Advanced WFA course. My career commitments prevent me from moving to WFResponder or EMT training due to the length of commitment. I'm not a medical professional.

    Given that, what is the best book to take along? The books that seem to keep coming up are:

    Medicine for Mountaineering - Wilkerson

    Medicine for the Backcountry - Tilton and Hubble (seems to just reiterate most of the training I've already had.)

    Paul Auerbach, an ER doc has written a few, from brief to textbook:
    1. Medicine for the Outdoors , 535pp -maybe too lightweight?
    2. Field Guide To Wilderness Medicine, 944 pp $34 - maybe?
    3. Wilderness Medicine, 2336pp, $167 - a tome, probably better suited for the Emergency room library?

    What do you recommend?
    Thanks!

  2. #2
    Senior Member Pete_Hickey's Avatar
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    Wilkerson is a classic. It covers lots. He doesn't even shy away from removal of impacted stools and dealing with the dead body. It's much more (as its name implies) than a first aid. First aid is what you do until help arrives. Wilkerson covers what to do when help is many many days away.
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    Senior Member DougPaul's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Pete_Hickey View Post
    Wilkerson is a classic.
    I second the motion--maybe the classic. Should be on every mountaineer's bookshelf. Also small enough to take along on an expedition as part of the medical kit.

    I have all 5 editions...

    Doug

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    Senior Member blacklab2020's Avatar
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    I third that notion
    Justin
    KC2QMU

    Did someone say Split Mtn, 5.9 IV 1600'???

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    Member tb69wemt's Avatar
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    Good recommendations...I sent you a PM...

  6. #6
    Senior Member hikingfish's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by blacklab2020 View Post
    I third that notion
    Maybe you guys are all MD's, but I found it way too technical. It's a great read, but I couldn't remember 1/10th of what's in the book.

    If you're interested, my copy's up for grabs. PM me if you want it and we'll work something out.

    Fish

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    Senior Member DougPaul's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by hikingfish View Post
    Maybe you guys are all MD's, but I found it way too technical. It's a great read, but I couldn't remember 1/10th of what's in the book.
    Not me. Just a PhD...

    IIRC, the authors explain in the preface or intro that one is not expected to memorize the entire book. The book is intentionally made small and light enough that it can be brought along as part of an expedition medical kit and used as an on-scene reference. (I've brought it along on car-trip vacations.)

    I think I read all the first edition all the way through (I was taking an outdoors medical course and it was the text/reference), but I don't remember a lot of it or don't remember the details. Since then, I simply read whatever section applies to the topic currently of interest. For instance, I have used it to help answer a number of the water treatment questions here on VFTT.

    Doug

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    Senior Member billski's Avatar
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    Inevitably the people that remember the most are those who use it the most often - EMTs. I had a rather robust conversation with a WFA trainer, also an EMT about this exact topic. In my experience, having a couple of quick reference sheets, with checklists for things like Primary Survey, Secondary Survey and SOAP note, tucked into my first aid kit are very useful.

    It's like the prof that lets you take the textbook into the exam. You'll waste too much time looking for stuff. Better to create a cliff-notes version. I am no EMT, but I watched first hand that method deployed with great success in a life-threatening situation.

    For those that poo-pooh textbook reading as folly, I wholeheartedly disagree. The key however is to use and refresh/take hands-on course that knowledge on a regular basis. The LAST position I ever want to be in again is 13 miles in the woods with no clue what to do. Or not do. It happens.
    Last edited by billski; 12-12-2009 at 05:43 AM.

  9. #9
    Senior Member billski's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by hikingfish View Post
    Maybe you guys are all MD's, but I found it way too technical. It's a great read, but I couldn't remember 1/10th of what's in the book.

    If you're interested, my copy's up for grabs. PM me if you want it and we'll work something out.

    Fish
    You might consider Medicine for the Outdoors by Auerbach. It was recommended by the Wall Street Journal, which does a very good job of recommending very readable, plain-English books for the intelligent mind.

    I appreciate the offer, but my wife was looking for gift ideas, so "I'm kind of locked-down, otherwise I'd bite. Thanks!

  10. #10
    Senior Member MadRiver's Avatar
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    The Wilderness First Responder book that I received for taking the WFR course with SOLO I find to be very practical. It gives a step by step explanation of what to do from first arriving on the scene to when the S&R team finally arrives. The reason why I like this book is because we did all the rescues/procedures that the book covers. I try to re-read the book at least every few months to keep myself sharp on all the procedures that I must follow from evaluation to treatment. Unfortunately, I do not know if the manual is available without taking the course.
    What do you mean he don't eat no meat? Ok, I'll do lamb.

  11. #11
    Senior Member hikingfish's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by billski View Post
    You might consider Medicine for the Outdoors by Auerbach. It was recommended by the Wall Street Journal, which does a very good job of recommending very readable, plain-English books for the intelligent mind.

    I appreciate the offer, but my wife was looking for gift ideas, so "I'm kind of locked-down, otherwise I'd bite. Thanks!
    No worries!

    I might give DougPaul's suggestion a try and carry it with me...maybe I was going about this the wrong way and trying to memorize everything ;-)

    Cheers,

    Fish

  12. #12
    Senior Member DougPaul's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by hikingfish View Post
    I might give DougPaul's suggestion a try and carry it with me...maybe I was going about this the wrong way and trying to memorize everything ;-)
    IMO, it's a little big to carry on a dayhike. However, if I was doing a week-long canoe expedition, I'd be likely to bring it. I generally bring it on week-long car trips. (The canoe and car have much stronger backs than I do...)

    There are some much smaller paperback first aid guides that would be more appropriate for a dayhike.

    Wilkerson covers first, second aid, and general medicine. First aid probably is required about as often (per day) independently of trip length, but second aid and general medicine are far more likely on longer trips.

    I find Wilkerson to be a very useful part of my home library (even if I never took it outside of my house). A good reference and general medical info book.

    Doug

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