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Discussion Starter #1
My first-aid kits aboard need replenishing and updating (especially now that I just had a refresher course on offshore first-aid) and I'd like to know if anyone here can recommend an on-line supplier of first-aid items; I'm looking for things like catheters, disposable scalpels, suture kits, saline, forceps, stethoscopes, SAM Splints, and so on. I'll get the prescription medications elsewhere.

I did take a quick look through Google but the first two sites that I hit seem only to supply hospitals and clinics directly so I thought I'd see if anyone here might have a recommendation for a supplier. I don't want to get a prepackaged medical kit but want to pick-and-choose my own items and not have to pay the heavy surcharges I see here in Europe or in pharmacies.
 

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I'm a doc. Just googled each item and ordered it. Most I got from colleagues as didn't need as many as minimum order. You could do the same by spreading order out with fellow cruisers. Some ( meds) I had my pcp order as " doc who treats their self has a fool for a patient".
Also med vac insurance is wise.
 

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Zanshin, another vote for AMAZON.

I just did the restock on three kits and damned if Amazon isn't cheaper than everyone else by a HUGE amount. Now, it can drive you crazy having boxes arrive from a dozen different sources, but the prices are nuts!

Gauze pads, bandage rolls, kling wrap ("vet" wrap) all typically 1/4 of the price that the big drug chains sell for. Two gauze rolls in CV-Wal-World for $10? No, a dozen rolls for $10 on Amazon. Totally nuts how they can sell and ship at that price.

Antiseptic, aspirin, other "headache" meds? 50 foil packets $10 and at that price, it becomes reasonable to get the individual sealed packets to keep moisture out.

Remember Bactine? An antiseptic and analgesic wash to put on cuts and scrapes? OK, that's 2/3 the store price, but J&J makes a "wound wash" that's the same stuff, even cheaper. Unlike peroxide it doesn't kill healthy tissue. Unlike betadine, it doesn't hide infection under a red color. Unlike saline...it actually kills bugs. Splinter tweezer, big one with a built-in LED light and magnifying glass? Four or five bucks.

Even the bandaids are cheaper, even the genuine ones with pretty pictures and cartoon characters on them, for the folks who don't have tattoos. yet.(G)

A lot of this stuff is coming from hospital and medical supply companies, who have found a good way to "do retail" and sometimes break down the bulk boxes into poly bags. But as long as it is sealed from the maker, who cares? I don't need extra cardboard retail boxes anyway.

One disappointment: I try to organize things in zip-lock pouches, and I try to find "school" supply kinds, in heavy vinyl. Those are hard to find, and some of them are not very good quality. But that's also available on Amazon, and it makes a better way to organize things if your day kit or trauma kit doesn't have all the nice pricey compartments in it. Memo to Santa, I'd like a medic jump kit with all those nice compartments and pouches in it.(G)
 

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I got a great email I can forward you. They claim to have all kinds of prescription meds, but seem to only have Cialis and Viagra. But there prices are impressive!

Amazon seems to be the best for general first aid. The only thing I don't like is you never know how fresh it is, and things like anti biotic ointment do have expiration dates.
 

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"The only thing I don't like is you never know how fresh it is, and things like anti biotic ointment do have expiration dates. "

I checked reviews for that specifically, and from the ones that got positive q&a's about good expiry dates, I emailed the seller (or posted the q for them) to be sure. It isn't always quick or easy, but you can find out.

And with Amazon's guarantees, if you don't get what you were promised, they'll either take it back, replace it, or refund the purchase & tell you to chuck it.

Just as good as going to the big drugstores, where they tend to put the price sticker over the expired date code.

The five-star merchants tend to move enough volume to keep it fresh.
 

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Discussion Starter #9
Thanks for all the recommendations. I have a shopping cart at Moore Medical but will check on the bigger ticket items at Amazon to compare.

I'm debating getting an AED after all, but the sticker shock at $1200 is quite high and I'm still not convinced that it would ever see any use.
 

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Discussion Starter #11
Phil,

those types numbers are what has been keeping me from getting an AED, in addition the doctors I've spoken to say that getting the ticker going again is one thing, but keeping it ticking until I can get the patient to appropriate care (days or weeks) is a completely different matter.

Nonetheless, there are also secondary uses for AEDs such as monitoring cardiac activity and the placebo effects. I'm often in anchorages where perhaps an AED might see some use; but OTOH I usually sail alone and doubt that it would be of any use to me when I do so.
 

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If you've got the budget for some serious supplies, I'd suggest an oxygen bottle before the AED. While an AED is "only" useful for cardiac problems, there's no telling who may have no prior history of heart problems but then, surprise, has one. And given that the survival rate for heart attacks decreases about 10% per minute (10 minutes and you're gone) and having the AED present can beat that...certainly nice if you CAN afford it.
 

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Find regardless of where get stuff its good to run it through the vacuum bagger. Additional protection and saves space.
 

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Moore medical is good but thanks all for the tip about amazon having the goods but cheaper.

Skip the AED. They're no good pre or post arrest. They're only good for 4-6 minutes after you arrest. After that the patient is braindead.

It won't help you if you arrest in your sleep, if you're ashore or on a neighbor's boat. You won't have time to use it on a neighbor.

If you really are high risk for arrest get an implantable defibrillator (like a pacemaker). Insurance is paying for them and they're much more likely to save your butt.

Medsailor
 

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Discussion Starter #15
MedSailor - I'm not at risk for arrest, and most doctors that I have spoken to on the matter would disagree with your conclusions. The statistics that I've seen on defililbrator use show that if one can get them used in time their success rate is quite good ... but the downside is that the patient needs immediate intensive care and if that cannot be provided the odds tend to get a lot worse.
 

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Discussion Starter #17
I wanted to follow up on this thread and say thanks to all who responded. I did try some of the medical sites but in the end the USA has more restrictions than the EU on what equipment can be purchased without a prescription, so I opted to use Amazon in Europe and was surprised at some of the deals I found. For example, even though I wanted only a couple of 1, 2, 10 and 20ml syringes I ended up getting more than I immediately needed because the package prices were better and 50 on Amazon ended up costing the same as 5 elsewhere - so now I have spares :)
 

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If youre a LONG distance cruiser, are 'documented' and have a captains ticket ... its legal for you to include medicinals (injectable drugs and 'potent' medications) that are otherwise unavailable to the common cruiser; usually available for 'just' the 'commercial/shipping' folks. Many of these 'medications' etc. are available based solely on your CAPTAINS license; opiate, etc. based meds obviously NEED a prescription - just about 'everywhere'.
A simple 'prescription' listing, signed by a licensed physician is all thats needed for 'legal purposes' (but youll have to check with the validity of such carriage for every country you enter).
There are maritime 'outlets' that will supply and 'package' these - consult with a large scale 'commercial' for current info for such suppliers.

With these 'potents' on board, the administering by - either those who are authorized and involved in the rescue, or yourself but under specific direction from land based medical authority (via SSB/HF/Sat Phone, etc.), YOU as captain can legally carry onboard, apply and use them in 'dire' emergencies. Its best to spend some time learning how to 'administer', etc. beforehand ... If youre USA etc. based, inquire with either a state 'health department' or Emergency Health Services agency ('ambulance/rescue' training) of how, where and when. ditto in Deutschland, etc.
In the USA, Id recommend contact with various training agencies that offer formal "Wilderness Emergency Medical Technician - WEMT", etc. courses. .... at a minimum, get their 'book' and self-study the courses - a great on-board 'reference'.
 

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Discussion Starter #20
RichH - I see you missed the part of my post about the 3 days first-aid-at sea course (got to sew pig legs and put in intravenous infusions in live people). I've got my ticket and a prescription for everything from morphine and adrenaline ampules to antibiotics, but that is a different matter and my question wasn't about getting those items but the basic tools for first aid. For example, I wanted various syringes and catheters in my US order and they are not OTC.
 
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