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Old 04-28-2016, 07:53 PM   #21
City: Northport, NY
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I just went to a class run by an ER doctor and it was interesting because he contacted the Coast Guard to ask their opinion of things and they said they would rather be hailed for a non-emergency than for someone to be afraid to call them in an emergency. Let them be the ones who decide if you need help or not. Give them a call.

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Old 04-28-2016, 08:35 PM   #22
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Thanks everybody... This has been helpful.

2000 Navigator 4200 Classic
(NOT a trawler)
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Old 04-28-2016, 09:31 PM   #23
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I am a surgeon who spends a good deal of time taking care of trauma patients, with also an extensive background in cardiology/cardiac surgery. A few observations about medical emergencies.

The great majority of mishaps I see are preventable. Obviously alcohol or drug impairment leads the list, but let's assume most boaters have the sense to drink after the engines are shut down. The next traumatic injury on the list would likely be related to docks and docking. Drilling into everyone that no hull or any boat part is more expensive than a human part is important. Never extend any limb, jump, or otherwise attempt any heroic boat saving maneuver. Same with anchors or mooring balls--they are responsible for mangling hand injuries. Again, just let it go.

If seas are rough, find a secure place and stay put. Walking around on a heaving vessel isn't smart, and virtually any trauma victim will regret an error in judgment at some point. Let the dishes break, the cabinets fly open, and the boat become a yard sale before venturing on an unstable surface.

Maintain your flexibility as flexibility avoids falls, which produce the open fractures Tom alluded to earlier. I highly recommend yoga or something similar. As we age the balance and flexibility diminish, and falls increase. Falls are probably the most morbid, and most preventable events of the mature demographic.

Medical emergencies are also avoidable, although not completely. There is nothing like a vigorous and negative cardiac stress test to put your mind at ease. Have your friendly family practice or cardiology doctor run you on a treadmill and follow it with an echo. It costs about 1200 bucks and is worth the piece of mind. I would second idea of purchasing an AED if there is a history of coronary disease. Pay assiduous attention to things like blood pressure and blood sugars in the case of diabetics and you can avoid all those troubles.

Get rid of your gut and exercise every time you are close to shore. An elevated body mass index (BMI) is a predictor of medical events, so lower that risk. There is no reason to avoid cruising, even off shore, if you minimize your risk ahead of time.

Your body is no more than a vessel that transports your soul through your life journey. It isn't much different than a boat. A well maintained boat has few problems, a neglected one a lot. Careful attention to detail and risk mitigation will reduce your risk of a medical event to below that of what you would experience on land.
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Old 04-28-2016, 10:45 PM   #24
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You're going to get your adrenaline flowing, and the will to survive - and help your loved one survive - is going to kick it. It may take a few seconds - perhaps even a full minute - for your brain to kick you in the butt, however it WILL kick in.

So now that your body has done it's part ("get back in the fight, Maverick!") it's now up to you to do so.

1. Take a CPR course.
2. Learn how to clear the airway.
3. Learn to stop the bleeding
4. Learn how to treat for shock.
5. Practice getting your first-aid kit out ("where the hell did I store that again?")
6. Know how to activate your PLB/EPIRB. Don't wait for an emergency to read the instructions.
7. Wash, rinse, repeat.

Think about this: the first word in any checklist (including the one above) is a verb. TAKE/LEARN/PRACTICE/KNOW. They are designed to remove any thought process. The thought goes into the planning of the checklist. You just EXECUTE on the plan. Same here.

Do it over and over so that you DON'T have to think. This will also help you overcome the fear/paralysis when something happens.

You'll do fine.
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Old 04-29-2016, 04:10 AM   #25
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Vessel Model: 2007 Great Harbour N37
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An AED is a must for older cruisers or anyone diagnosed with heart problems or high blood pressure. They are becoming more affordable yearly and they are "idiot proof" If there is a situation that requires one and you don't have one, then the person WILL die.

Control the bleeding - there are many easy to use tourniquets and blood clotting gauzes and bandages available on the market. Top that with a good compression bandage and you are set.

QuikClot® Advanced Clotting Gauze

SWAT-T Tourniquet

Those are probably the main items needed for the more serious problems an average person can assist with. I do not endorse these specific web sites or products, I am just provide a research tool for you.
John and Jen
Sea Gypsy II
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Old 05-01-2016, 05:49 AM   #26
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Originally Posted by petdoc4u View Post
It may sound extreme, but given that a cardiac event may be your last event, I don't think having a defibrillator onboard is unreasonable. I see them on planes as well as in many public buildings. It would require some training to be used effectively but well worth it. Check Ebay for an idea of prices and selection. Like our EPIRBs we would hope to never need it.
While the above could be considered a reasonable thing to do, especially if money is no object, like EPIRBS, they have a finite battery life. To put things in perspective, in terms of likelihood it will be used, as a family physician now for about 40 years, we have never had to use one, even in a busy medical surgery, in that time. Our defibrillator's battery died and had to be replaced several times in that period, then finally, somehow, it walked, so we did not replace it. It is not mandatory, even for a medical surgery.

I won't say it can't or won't happen, but thus far it hasn't, so the chances of it out boating are slim indeed. Unless, that is, the person is already one who has an established heart condition where it is much more likely, in which case they could - maybe make that should, (and usually are) - already fitted with an implanted automatic pacemaker/defibrillator. But, yes, by all means do a first aid and CPR course.

As a footnote, having now seen a few other posts above, including other medical people, it is worth noting that if someone suffers from a condition serious enough to suffer something like a cardiac arrest, such that a defib. might retrieve a pulse, (excluding maybe an electric shock), unless one has the necessary equipment, IVs, drugs, oxygen, monitor, etc, to sustain them after the defib, and able to get them to a hospital asap, it will likely be in vain. I also worked as an anaesthetist and emergency room doc, so sadly, I know these things. I mention it not to frighten you, but to reassure you it is not being silly or negligent if you elect to not have a defib on board, just sayin'...
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Old 05-01-2016, 09:23 AM   #27
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Originally Posted by Peter B
To put things in perspective...
Aside from us getting away from the original question of alleviating Tom's fear, it's nice that you put it in perspective, Peter. Just far too many "what ifs" to ponder so, as long as we have something more than no basic knowledge, experience and assistive equipment, we could give ourselves an infarct just from worry.

If I can get silly for a moment, something others think I do with ease; slamming into a big wave, breaks a waterline which sprays on whatever to cause a total power failure resulting in a joker valve seizing in skipper's built in fuel pump. He goes down, the only crew at the time is a nine year old granddaughter who faints getting a worm on a hook and has zero knowledge of anything boat or body.


So, how far do we go to cover it all? Stay home I guess and hope the aerobics nut upstairs doesn't cause the chandelier to fall at the very moment we're under it.

Now I understand why that 48 OA had a helipad.

Tom; just keep on Skinny Dippin'.

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