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post #1 of Old 04-10-2001 Thread Starter
William Mahaffy
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Crew Medical Training

Where can I get the training to learn certain medical procedures such as putting in an IV or a catheter, or doing suturing?

Bill Mahaffy responds:

Because the skills you refer to would not be covered in an advanced first-aid course, you might contact your local fire department or ambulance corps and explain your situation. They may have the mannequins to practice IV starts. Also, check with your health-care provider. Since you will be getting the prescriptions for the medical kit from them, they may also be able to direct you to a local resource for learning these skills.

Many of the resource texts (I've listed them in a previous article, see The On Board Medical Kit, Part I) offer step-by-step instructions for these skills. While this is no substitute for hands-on training, it will at least refresh your memory should you have to perform a procedure at sea.

There are a few seminars that instruct voyaging sailors on the more sophisticated medical procedures and techniques. Check with US SAILING ( for seminars given through their Safety at Sea lecture series. Over the years, I have trained sailors preparing for a voyage in simple suturing and IV techniques, and they caught on quickly. However, these maneuvers take a good deal of practice to master, so don't expect to be proficient after just a weekend seminar. These seminars are intended to impart a basic understanding of the techniques. With that and a good text, you should be able to get the job done in an offshore emergency.

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