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Make Ready with Doc Spears: Combat Lifesaver – Review

by Ric Hubbard • July 24, 2021

First; I am not a medical professional and this review is from the point of view of a civilian learning as much as possible. I took an EMT-Basic course many years ago, but it has been so long that I can’t rely on those skills until I can take the course again.

Second, and most importantly; The video in question is a primer on the subject of Combat Casualty Care, not proper training. Proper training requires that you go hands on with a Medical Professional as he guides through the learning process. Some of the techniques demonstrated in this video can cause permanent harm if done wrong.

So, considering all of this, why am I suggesting this video? Because some knowledge is better than no knowledge. One, you will gain a very good idea of what you are facing in a trauma situation and will be better prepared when you do take a class. Hopefully watching this will convince you that taking first aid and trauma management courses is a good idea.

Two, if you have learned from the video, a trained professional will be better able to talk you through the process, should you be in a position to help during an emergency. When he or she gives you instructions, you will not be completely at a loss and will be better able to follow direction.

This video explains the differences between a civilian trauma situation and a combat trauma situation. The process of casualty care for an EMT is different from that of a Combat Life Saver. For example, an EMT at a car accident would be concerned with the Airway, Breathing and Circulation (ABC), in that order. This is because in a civilian trauma the injuries are unpredictable. For a Combat Lifesaver the injuries are much more predictable. Therefore, controlling bleeding is paramount so instead of ABC, B comes first.

With these caveats in place, Doc Spears teaches some techniques that you can put to use in an emergency. Using a tourniquet is something anyone can, and should, be able to do. Even with only the demonstration in this video you can develop the basic skills needed and it may save a life.

Sealing a chest wound with proper chest seals is another skill you can gain from this course. Self-defense firearms training places an emphasis on shooting “Center of Mass” and since we have a tendency to aim at the heart in a fight or flight situation, this makes open chest wounds a clear danger in violent confrontations.

You are given instruction treating a Tension Pneumothorax by decompressing with a chest needle. This is one of the skills that you should seek proper training for. Do it wrong and you make the problem worse by cutting nerves, hitting the wrong spot and causing an additional wound that does not decompress the chest. Tension Pneumothorax is the injury most likely to kill a gun shot victim, but treating it wrong can kill faster. Fortunately, there are new occluded dressings that have a venting system built in, making it less likely that someone not properly trained will be called on to perform a needle decompression.

You will also find instruction on managing the airway and using a Nasopharyngeal to protect it. I remember learning how to use the Nasopharyngeal when I was in EMT class and seeing it done in the video brought all of it back to me. I have only ever placed one on a dummy, but it is an easy technique to perform, and here again, one everyone should be able to.

Make Ready with Doc Spears: Combat Lifesaver from Panteao Productions is one of those videos that I think everyone interested in preparedness should watch. It lays the foundation for skill sets we will all need if the world ever does go south. It will not make you a combat lifesaver, but it will give you some basic skills and point you in the direction of the skill sets that are will help you save lives.