It has now been over 5 years since the inception of these forums. During that time we have seen a lot of changes, some very minor, others on a grand scale. Forum members have produced authoritative treatises; medical information CDís and just last year published their first book, Survival and Austere Medicine: An Introduction.

These forums exist for one primary purpose: to expand upon our collective knowledge and understanding of the practice of medicine in unusual circumstances. It matters not whether you are a seasoned trauma surgeon or a housewife who barely knows the difference between a fever and a chemical thermometer Ė all may benefit from the information offered here.

The need for medical care under unusual circumstances may be the result of natural disaster, conflict, geographically remote locations or underdeveloped countries, or something as simple as an outing that sees a medical crisis develop as the result of accident or illness. Any and all may require less than optimal care being provided for short or long-term resolution of the problem.

Members may be occasional wilderness explorers or medical missionaries, pre-hospital care providers or degreed and licensed professionals. They could be scientists stationed at remote research stations or lay people with an interest in basic medicine and a thirst for solid information. All are equally welcome here.

You will find a mix of professional articles, original submissions, news reports, first-hand stories, reviews of literature, books, gear and protocols and much more. Rather than simply rehash what is commonly found in the medical texts and first aid and wilderness guides we instead seek to develop ways of disseminating the information gleaned by those that have been there and done that. Our medical CD and book projects are but the beginning.

In order to allow you to make better use of the forums the following questions and answers are provided. As always, if you have further questions please do not hesitate to inquire.

Q: I can read but I cannot post a response. Do I have to register in order to post?

A: Yes, you must be registered to post to any of the forums. Likewise nonmembers see only a portion of the total forum. Further access is granted to those who register and contribute.

Q: I occasionally see reference to threads I cannot seem to locate. Why is that?

A: Some older threads may have expired and been removed or archived in the Library section. There are also sections of the board that are closed to casual viewing. Only registered members may access these areas. This also discourages web bots from trolling the forums for information that may be proprietary, i.e. intended for active members as opposed to casual lurkers. One example is the Swedish Wilderness Medicine Society forum. Don't worry, unless you can read Swedish you aren't missing out.

Accesses to the nonpublic areas is not exclusive save that you be registered and actively contribute to discussions. Lay people as well as healthcare providers are equally welcome. We only ask that you actively contribute to the board.

From time to time we may also offer private forums set up for specific projects as a gathering place/bulletin board for people involved in the project(s). These may be long or short-term projects. Information may be posted for viewing by the appropriate parties for reading at their leisure. If your group has need of such a forum please contact an administrator about having one set up.

Q: Why are so few people posting?

A: They are shy? Seriously, we encourage people to post articles, ask questions, and generally interact. Offer an opinion or observation in a thread. Perhaps highlight a point or ask for clarification. Remember that knowledge shared, or even a question, benefits both parties as well as others. We don't allow flame wars here so don't be afraid of saying something you think may come across as amateurish. No one is going to be flamed for misunderstanding or asking a question.

Q: Is there a membership fee?

A: Not at the present time, nor has there been for the past 5+ years. That may change in the future. For the time access to the forums remains free of any fees.

Q: How accurate is the information here?

A: All posts are reviewed for medical accuracy as much as possible. Some consist of personal opinion or observations, some are abstracts or complete articles borrowed from professional publications, and still more are news reports of relevance that may lead to further research.

We also have a peer review process that involves offering articles, etc for review by the board admins and healthcare professionals. It is a basic consensus building process. Anyone may submit an article for review and comments. Just email or send a private message to the Medical Director or an Administrator.

Q: Where does all this information come from?

A: Sources such as Harvard's ProMed List, The New England Journal of Medicine, military sources, doctors, nurses, EMS providers, journals, books and more. References are often cited where applicable. Personal opinions and/or observations are stated as such.

Q: What is the reason for this board?

A: This is intended to be a gathering place for relevant information pertinent to its title, those areas being remote or austere conditions, wilderness and third world medicine. There is no other such dedicated site on the internet that I am aware of.

Q: If I register am I going to start receiving a lot of email spam?

A: There is no reason that you should. Email addresses are hidden for protection from spambots. You may also elect to not receive email from here in general, i.e. other members, and likewise with private messages. You may, however, receive the odd email or PM from a board administrator. That feature is used very selectively and is not abused, and never used commercially. We do not maintain email lists or sell email addresses. General emails may be sent 2-3 times a year, if that often.

Q: What do you get out of this?

A: Satisfaction knowing that I have done my best to assist as many people as possible to learn and prepare for their areas of interest and increased knowledge on my own part. I have been offering my limited medical knowledge across the net for nearly 8 years now. This is the culmination of those efforts, the ability to reach as many people as possible with the same information.

I occasionally travel in remote areas, plan to do some overseas traveling, have participated in a few minor tactical missions as an EMS provider, and worked in hospitals as well as the field, so my personal interests are broad. This board reflects that, as we can all learn from each other.

Other active members here have similar interests. They participate in overseas medical care and research projects, travel widely, or live in remote areas. The common denominator is interest in medical care under unusual conditions.

Q: Why the novel?

A: It is intended as a companion piece to another internet novel set in the same time and using the same basic scenario. The author was shooting up so many people I though an aid station was sorely needed. The overall intent is to instruct and make people think about austere medicine. The procedures, devices, methods, etc are all reasonably valid, with a little literary license tossed in for effect on occasion.

Literary license is of course used for characters and some locations. The events take place in the year 2011, so they are entirely fictional. A future story may reflect a differing set of circumstances, but someone else chose the scenario so I'm working within their outline.

Q: What is your interest in medicine?

A: I am a Paramedic Specialist (enhanced scope of practice) and a Registered Nurse. I have 27 years of career experience including field medicine, rescue, haz-mat, ER, OR, long-term care and medical-surgical nursing. 12 of those years were spent in management positions comittant with regular patient care duties. In other words I was always a working manager, working almost daily in patient care areas and involved with hands-on care.

Q: Are there any real doctors who frequent this board?

A: There are in fact but it is left to them to identify themselves as such if they so desire. No one needs to cite credentials unless they claim a particular level of expertise. More likely you will see the disclaimer "I am not a doctor, butÖ".

Q: May I contribute articles?

A: Of course! If you are unsure feel free to forward an article or an idea and we'll gladly review it and respond, or edit it if you like. They are best prepared in Word or Word Perfect, edited then cut and pasted to the board. This is intended as a one-stop (as much as practical any way) medical preparedness resource. As such we gladly welcome contributions.

Q: What is the key to the hemostat rating system on the books and such?

A: It is scaled 0 - 5. 0 is use it for tinder but never, EVER actually consider using the info contained. An example would be the bio-war agent antibiotic dosing in Larry Wayne Harris' treatise. A 5-hemo rating would be for such as Wounds and Lacerations. Even a layperson may use it well and it rates a must have, above any number of first aid guides, etc. Spend your money on quality.

Now, get busy and start learning!

Reasonable Rascal