Getting Professional Medical Care After an Economic or Societal Collapse

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One of the main concerns of the responsible caregiver/parent is to protect the health and well-being of our loved ones. And a large part of our ability to do that derives from our ability to get proper medical attention. In a SHTF situation, this is even more important. Do you know how to get professional medical after an economic collapse? Do you know what to do?

If not, you’re not alone. This is a very thorny problem to work through. But we are not without a historical guide here.

There are lessons to glean from the collapse of Venezuela.

Please allow me to describe how the healthcare has been in my country the last 3 decades.

The healthcare industry started to become overwhelmed in the 1980s. Even though the percentage of doctors per 100,000 inhabitants was growing steadily (see Table 1, pag. 15), the economic happenings did not have a meaningful positive role in the world of healthcare.

Mind you, there is no recent data within the last 10 years that could be considered reliable enough to provide clear data on this issue.

This said, it would be unfair to not acknowledge the huge effort and money which was poured into the restructuring of the healthcare system. This was done with oil price over $100 per barrel, of course. Then things changed, and we’re still feeling the consequences of the ransacking. Previously, we had infirmaries all over the country, called “CDI”. These were announced with great fanfare and propaganda as one of the “achievements of the revolution.” Many of them now closed or almost empty.

Brain drain hit our country hard, and a large segment of the healthcare professionals decided to get out of dodge. This created a pressing need for trained clinicians, and now, those who decided to stay are making more money than ever.

This profession is one of the better paid ones down here, and not just in Venezuela (where an independent MD can make over $4000/year – enough to live like a king), but it is a very good salary in any country in South America. Even with outrageously high living expenses of $1500 (and I don’t even know anyone with such high life expenses), an MD here can live without lack of anything.

According to these 2008 statistics, the main death in Venezuela causes were heart strokes…and homicides. At this moment I can’t quote a reliable source on this with statistics for this past year, but what I can do is to provide a description of the general scenario about the health care process.

Let’s analyze the case of a close friend who twisted an ankle recently.

Living in a socialist state most certainly qualifies as placing this friend in a position of needing medical attention after SHTF.

There is an infirmary center nearby run by the Cubans which specializes in these types of injuries. Whether or not these people are qualified to treat patients is debatable. They just work there, imposed by the ruling socialist party, and that’s it. The astute patient will be cautious with such, but the poor, countryside woman with an injured child doesn’t care. She just wants some level of treatment. And “some” level is what she will get.

My friend went to this clinic, where they decided to do an X-ray. This typically costs 20-25$, and is a service not available in the public healthcare center “because of technical problems.” I’d estimate that around 80+% of the country’s healthcare centers are public ones. These types of problems are rife there.

After taking the X-ray in the private center (where another $20 was spent because the clinic demanded a Venezuela-certified MD to issue the X-ray order) a diagnosis was given. Medicine was prescribed, though it was not “free” like the meds so many people received back in the early 2000s when the system was working and fueled by the oil revenues. (Even then, most of these “free” medicines were unbranded products from suspicious countries.)

His physical therapy was free though. He just had to find a physical therapist. Most of them have fled to America.

What about a more severe situation though?

Many hospitals nowadays in Venezuela don’t have supplies. Patients without money for a private clinic, just go to the hospital mainly for a free diagnosis. For actual treatment of a condition, you only go to the hospital after you’ve purchased the needed medicines and supplies of your own accord on your own time.

This means that, after the SHTF, unless some sort of industry still remains (somewhere, somehow) producing things like antibiotics, antibacterials and painkillers, doctors won’t be able to do much.

Within the past 5 years period, there was a LOT of preventable deaths of children. The childhood mortality rate rose from 0,7% to 2%. Most of these deaths took place in rural towns, where the poor tried to beat some illness by treating it with “natural” remedies.

But please don’t misinterpret this! Natural medicine has been around for thousands of years, and much of modern medicine is derived from this ancient knowledge.

The thing is, desperation and lack of knowledge forced people to make poor choices. There are only vestiges of the ancient herbal knowledge of our indigenous ancestors. Many people thought these were harmless – something that is completely erroneous. Plants as common as chamomile and peppermint were named within those that the babies of the statistics mentioned ingested.

Again, it is not the plant itself: it was the high dose used that generated the unwanted effect.

Specialists will no longer exist post-SHTF.

MDs here go through a one-year specialization process. That’s it. One year. Those are the “specialists” we’re plagued with now. If you need a specialist on a consistent basis, things get rather thorny. And though this most certainly matters, it’s not this lack of specialists that makes receiving medical attention after SHTF the hardest.

It’s the lack of supplies that hurts us most.

Things as simple as an appendectomy could turn very bad post-SHTF if not treated fast. There will be general practitioners – people with knowledge – but the supplies and sophisticated kits won’t be there. Therefore, it’s much better to have some supplies, even if they’re not ideal, and a general doctor, than having someone who could find difficulties performing that surgery without specialized materials and instruments.

The catch is this: will you be able to afford them?

The tools, medicines, and the doctor’s services all sky-rocket in price post-SHTF. Do you have what it takes to barter/pay for this? Can you provide your doctor with the tools he needs to provide you medical attention after SHTF?

You need to think about this now. And after the crap hits the fan, you need to understand that emergencies must be avoided at all costs. I saw too many wounds become complicated which could have been avoided with basic precautions: wearing steel toes work boots, gloves or safety glasses, for instance.

What are the practical lessons I learned in the worst of the crisis?

From my experiences in Venezuela, I can summarize a few tips for the best preps based off of what people went through around here in the worst period: 2016-2021.

  • Getting a few glass non-disposable syringes with an assortment of non-disposable needles and an autoclave is  an excellent investment.
  • Elaboration of effective painkillers with natural products (Do thorough research. There is a lot of information on line about this but not being a specialist, I won’t dare to elaborate on this.)
  • Consumables like surgical tape, alcohol (of course!), iodine, and all sort of sterilization products were almost high-value commodities.
  • Getting a skin stapler, instead of the conventional needle and thread for wounds could be a great investment given the need. I witnessed people desperately looking for a sewing kit in every pharmacy, just to resource to the (extremely extended!) black market…and the resulting scares were nasty. I even knew people who got their wounds “fixed” with very thick thread.
  • A couple of crutches (or even some plans or materials to build them), a good neck immobilizer…maybe some appropriate printing materials for those with a 3D printer large enough to print a splint to immobilize a limb, all of these are things that someone could need after an accident.
  • Supplies like disposable scalpels and other surgical instruments.
  • Stocking up on cream for burns is a must. Especially the ones with silver sulfadiazine for 3th degree burns. The odds of suffering some sort of severe burn suddenly rise much higher if you have to do mechanic work in your own workshop. The solvents used for cleaning, if you’re welding, for instance, are highly flammable.
  •  Enough medication should be stockpiled up, or at least the base products to prepare the mixture, for those with the knowledge to do it. Researching about DIY burn creams could be a good idea.

Above all, be careful!

Given the lack of access to proper medical attention after SHTF, extreme precautions must be taken. It’s all about safety now, and it’s much better to be labeled as someone fussy about security, than to have an accident which could lead to severe consequences.

I’ve been in workshops all my life. I haven’t had an accident because purposeful patience and all the precautions I’ve taken.

Recently, I had to cut a nail with a wire cutter to remove some rotten wood, and one piece hit my safety glasses like a bullet. Should I not have had these, I could have suffered a nasty injury, being home alone, broken, and in a country where getting proper medical attention in the public health system is almost impossible. So, my best advice is, try, as hard as you can, to avoid getting harmed.

This is just scratching the surface of medical attention after SHTF…

This article merely scratches the surface of the intricate subject of healthcare in a devastated world. However, using common sense we can deal with many emergencies as they come.

Thanks for your sponsoring. It really helps me to keep pumping out solid, boots-on-the-ground material, and always remember to make questions in the comments about what you need to know and learn about the situation down here to improve your preps.

Stay tuned!


For more information on prepping, check out our free OP QuickStart Guide to the 4 Levels of Disasters.

Have you seen these problems yet?

Have you seen any issues with medical care in your area? Are prescription meds readily available? Share your thoughts and experiences in the comments.​​​​

About Jose

Jose is an upper middle class professional. He is a former worker of the oil state company with a Bachelor’s degree from one of the best national Universities. He has an old but in good shape SUV, a good 150 square meters house in a nice neighborhood, in a small but (formerly) prosperous city with two middle size malls. Jose is a prepper and shares his eyewitness accounts and survival stories from the collapse of his beloved Venezuela. Jose and his younger kid are currently back in Venezuela, after the intention of setting up a new life in another country didn’t  go well. The SARSCOV2 re-shaped the labor market and South American economy so he decided to give it a try to homestead in the mountains, and make a living as best as possible. But this time in his own land, and surrounded by family, friends and acquaintances, with all the gear and equipment collected, as the initial plan was.

 Follow Jose on YouTube and gain access to his exclusive content on PatreonDonations: or the BTC address 3QQcFfK9GvZNEmALuVV8D6AUttChTdtReE

Picture of J.G. Martinez D

J.G. Martinez D

About Jose Jose is an upper middle class professional. He is a former worker of the oil state company with a Bachelor’s degree from one of the best national Universities. He has a small 4 members family, plus two cats and a dog. An old but in good shape SUV, a good 150 square meters house in a nice neighborhood, in a small but (formerly) prosperous city with two middle size malls. Jose is a prepper and shares his eyewitness accounts and survival stories from the collapse of his beloved Venezuela. Thanks to your help Jose has gotten his family out of Venezuela. They are currently setting up a new life in another country. Follow Jose on YouTube and gain access to his exclusive content on Patreon. Donations:

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  • One other item to add to your first aid box: veterinary tape. It is about 10.1 cm (4 inches) wide and comes in many colors. Buy it at farm supply stores and stores that specialize in animal products. It stretches and adheres to itself, not to skin or hair. No sticky residue.

    It stretches and then it clings to itself (probably one time use).

    You can use it to hold a compression bandage in place, use it instead of an Ace bandage for a sprain.
    Use it for a sling. Use it with 2 pieces of corrugated cardboard for an improvised splint.

    My local farmer’s coop sells it for less than $2 (US) per roll.

    I have several rolls in our household first aid cabinet and in my emergency bag in my car.

  • Just posted on the forum that CVS and Walgreens are shutting some stores down on the weekends because of staffing issues and ours are already shutting down twice a day for “lunches” because of no staff.
    Things are not looking up as I’d hoped.

    • A local Walgreens pharmacy here in northwestern New Jersey has recently shut down on weekends due to staffing issues. So, this is not a local problem.

  • In my area we seem to have a slowly eroding number of MD’s (still a fair number and a large hospital), but fortunately we are seeing in increase in Nurse Practitioners, and the ones I am familiar with are all very sharp.

    I used to teach CERT classes and the Basic course includes two sections on emergency first aid, and we used a lot of Duct Tape practicing making splints and other uses.

    If things get bad enough and we don’t have antibiotics any more, things like Tea Tree Oil and Colloidal Silver (CS) will become critically important. I have a couple of fairly sophisticated colloidal silver generators (Silver Puppy) and can make literally thousands of gallons of CS for as long as they work. They will also run off of a 12 Volt battery with the proper power cables. You can also make a crude CS generator with three 9-Volt batteries wired in series and some silver wire (Best) or silver coins. Be sure the silver is .999 or .9999 fine and not jeweler’s silver or silver plate. You can drink CS, pour it into wounds, soak bandages in it, and if critically necessary even use it in the eyes.

    As Jose says (and Selco too) being careful and using safety equipment when possible are extremely important. And Selco emphasizes that in a bad SHTF, even minor cuts or injuries can end up being fatal if not properly treated.

    My son who now lives in Peru is reporting shortages of all sorts of pharmaceuticals and other medical supplies recently. In most 3rd World countries they can buy pharmaceuticals directly without a prescription, but only if they are available.

  • I’m in rural WV and retired in Nov 2020. I’m on Medicare with a third-party plan N supplement .

    Fortunately most doctors in WV take Medicare so access is not an issue. In the larger cities, most doctors are immigrants with a variety of knowledge, skills, and language mastery. I had an excellent gastroenterologist and a dreadful neurologist, both referrals from my primary provider. For everyday care I have access to someone who got an MD 30 yr ago and a relatively new physician’s assistant. They had very orthodox training and limited research reading. They know virtually nothing about my main problem which is a weird neurological issue, possibly chronic Epstein-Barr. So, I’ve resigned myself to being responsible for my own treatment using online resources without insurance coverage.

    Four years ago I had the most serious medical intervention of my life — a bowel resection and colostomy. I was sent home with a couple of videos, a booklet, a phone number and some sample supplies. No visiting nurse was available to see me at home and no wound care nurses were available locally for me to consult. So, I was on my own at 73 learning how to manage a colostomy virtually without assistance. After over 35 years in Silicon Valley CA and Denver
    CO, this level of medical service was both unexpected and scary. So far I’m doing fine and thank the Universe everyday for my intelligence and resilience.

  • I would suggest doing everything you can to boost your base-line health: eat four servings of vegetables and a piece of fruit daily (preferably organic or at least non-GMO if possible and if you can afford it) and get enough protein (1 gram per pound of lean body mass daily). Avoid processed foods. Exercise in the form of walking briskly (a couple of miles daily) and resistance/weight training: start slow and work up slowly. If you’re lifting weights be careful to maintain proper form in order to avoid injury. It’s easier and better to stay healthy than to try to regain your health once you’ve got medical problems or injuries.

  • I have a friend who is Venezuelan, but now lives in Peru. Upon completing a gynecological residency was offered a job where the salary would be $10 per month. My friend is from a family that used to be quite financially well off. They found themselves on the wrong side of the ruling powers and are now struggling. After going to Peru it took nearly 2 years to get the necessary paperwork from Venezuela so my friend could work as a physician in Peru. My friend’s sibling has cancer that was in remission for years. My friend worked multiple jobs earning very little to buy the sibling’s medical supplies and send back to Venezuela along with cash for what had to be purchased there. Then my friend’s mother became sick because she was rationing her diabetic medication. It was a mad dash around Lima to raise the money needed for tests, antibiotics and hospital costs. We’ve sent money to help when we could. So sad. As a healthcare worker in the US I now save every med, supply and book I get my hands on, just in case. Watching my friend worry, loose weight and sleep to try to provide care for the family back home has been a warning for me. My friend says “I never thought it would come to this.” I hope it doesn’t here, but I take your warning seriously.

  • Tampons.
    Keep maxi tampons in your PFAK.
    A couple of boxes in your stores.
    They were originally invented by the French for gunshot wounds.
    They are excellent at stopping bleeding from a gunshot wound until further service can be provided.
    They are sterile, and expand to plug the entry wound.

  • For those wishing to get better prepared to provide medical care for themselves and others here are a few book suggestions that will provide the information you need.
    *Where There Is No Doctor
    available as a free PDF download but buy a copy to help the organization who developed it.
    *Village Medical Manual Vol’s 1 & 2
    *Primary Surgery Vol 1 Non Trauma
    Vol 2 Trauma
    Vol 3 Primary Anesthesia

    A detailed description for these is available on Amazon or other sources. These will give a lay person not only the information to treat but to obtain the necessary medical supplies needed.

  • Networking. If you have not already done so….get your medical supplies post haste. Plenty of lists of what those are.
    Get to know all of the medical professionals who live in your area. We have an RN half mile down the road. Several retired RN’s just down the road. One dentist at our church. A friend of ours who is an RN. There are a lot of providers if you get into your communities and find them. There are ones not tied to major health care providers. The bartering system still works. So does cash.

  • I had difficulty getting asthma medication before Covid, pharmacy couldn’t keep it in stock. So, changed pharmacy. Then Covid arrived, and problem started again. We have a shortage of nursing before Covid. PT and other H.H staff started doing some care that the nursing staff use to do. Seems to be plenty of Dr.s. I’ve looked into alternative medicine, and now into growing these plants, because the pill and teas supplements will have same issues as modern meds ,of obtaining each. Thank you for article and all that comment- lots of good information!

  • In the US there is a very long history of the mega-pharmaceutical companies and owners demonizing naturopathic or holistic medical methods (many with thousands of years of successful history) that present any competition to Big Pharma sales of products and methods. Competing medical schools were destroyed. Doctors using naturopathic methods often had their careers destroyed. Discovering a cure for cancer back in the 1930s where Big Pharma was cut out of the profit loop was a good way to get run out of this country. And that war continues today with the addition of the Covid-19 wars to that century+ old war for your medical dollars … that reflects the infamous declaration from John D. Rockefeller who said “competition is a sin.”

    With Covid-19 there are inexpensive preventatives and early treatments that have been successfully used at home … to avoid going to an American hospital where increasingly the hospital and the doctors are prohibited from using their best judgments … in gross violation of the ancient Hippocratic Oath that mandates “First, do no harm” to the patient. I have friends who were allowed to use those inexpensive treatments in other countries and are still with us today. I had others in this country who were not so fortunate. One even caught Covid in a VA hospital and didn’t survive.

    The point for preppers is that you need to learn what those low cost and highly effective preventatives and early use treatments are so that you know what products to stockpile — despite our thoroughly corrupted federal government’s determined efforts to stamp out anything that Big Pharma can’t make a profit from — no matter how ineffective and/or deadly some of those vaccines have proven to be. The vaccinated pilots who are dying from blood clots triggered by high altitudes are just one of many types of examples. Lately the medical issues caused by 5G communication turn-ons in other countries are alarming the growing numbers of the informed vaccinated people. See this website for many related articles:

    That’s just the latest of many reasons to avoid the Covid vaccines and learn about and stockpile the low cost and highly effective DIY medications. That how-to knowledge needs to be added to main-stream prepper-dom as fast as possible.


  • I want to thank Jose that it is not always the natural medicine but the IGNORANT use of such medicine that causes problems, you can use it but YOU HAVE TO KNOW WHAT YOU ARE DOING. There are books that are even published by doctors, a version of Physician Desk’s Reference that describes such and even a nursing manual which I have. A extremely good book if the Healing Power of Herbs by Michael Murray N.D. that will really go into on how the most common medicinal herbs work but warning it is a bit technical but someone with a good background in science or medicine will understand it. I do kind of resent sometimes the Reader Digest version of such guides though with usually harmless common stuff you eat like oregano and garlic I am more forgiving, however with more exotic stuff do really do your research, I hate it when then the doctors say you do not know what you are doing then make it prescription only so drug companies can make a ton of money on it.

  • regarding burns, 1st degree? we use dish detergent. the pain vanishes, no swelling or redness. all i had was dawn.

  • The median networth of congress members is $900,000. The median networth of senators is $3.2 million. The median networth of an entire household in America is $121,760.

    But look at all that we get in return for it!

    Treason! Tyranny! & Terrorism!

    It has become obvious that the government exists for one purpose only, to destroy the citizenry, and those that are evil enough to assist them in the InfraGard gestapo police state surveillance state/corporate state/government and academia state, and those in that are in the military, the WHO,  and the medical mafia will be financially rewarded for it.

    Are you like, really super duper excited about the 2022 elections?!

    Andrea Iravani

  • You Need More Than Food to Survive

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