Sunday, March 10, 2013

Doc's First Aid Guide / Kathleen A Handal, MD

Reviewed by: BigAl

Genre: Non-Fiction

Approximate word count: 10-15,000 words

Kindle  US: YES  UK: YES  Nook: YES  Smashwords: YES  Paper: YES
Click on a YES above to go to appropriate page in Amazon, Barnes & Noble, or Smashwords store


“Kathleen A. Handal, M.D. is a nationally and internationally known emergency medicine ‘Doc’. Author of The American Red Cross First Aid and Safety Handbook, she believes physicians have a responsibility to teach and share medical common sense.”

For more, visit Doc Handal’s website.


“Doc’s First Aid Guide is an illustrated, first-aid eHandbook designed to be used as a quick reference and includes 2010 CPR guidelines.”


This book is a quick reference first aid guide. It starts with a brief discussion of some general principles, then gets to the meat with basic first aid steps for various situations as well as telling you some things you shouldn’t do (some of which  might be your first inclination.) The Kindle version has a functional Table of Contents for quick access to the section you need. Although the review copy I received had entries in the TOC that weren’t functional links, I verified that these appear to be fixed in the book currently on Amazon.

The first recommendation you’ll find is to “read this book before you need it.” That’s a good idea, not only because there are ways you could be prepared for possible accidents and injuries, but also because there are certain techniques mentioned multiple times in the text that aren’t explained until the end of the book. I think putting them at the beginning might have been better and for the Kindle version, it might make sense to have a hot link to the entry for the various techniques where they are referenced in the main body of the book for easy access.

I hesitate to comment on the content since the author is a professional and what first aid training I have was more than forty years ago, but I can say there wasn’t anything (with one or two exceptions) that struck me as wrong or conflicting with what I do know. One item that struck me strangely was a recommendation that a first aid kit should have “change for a pay phone.” I guess there are situations where this might still make sense, possibly an injury that happens at an isolated highway rest area with a functioning pay phone where there is no cell phone service or you don’t have a cell phone. But with the scarcity of pay phones in most places and the ubiquity of cell phones, this might not make much sense anymore. However, this is minor and something each person should probably base on their situation, both with cell phone ownership and travel habits.

The other thing that struck me as strange was in multiple places the book has variations on the statement that “burns of the fingers, toes, genitals, and eyes always require medical attention.” In other words, first aid should be done to alleviate pain and minimize damage, but that the injured person should receive attention from a medical professional after, presumably as soon as possible. If these statements are meant to refer to burns of a specific severity and not minor burns, then it isn’t clear. Taken at face value, that sunburned nose (technically a first degree burn) or a minor burn on the hand (maybe from cooking oil splattering) requires a doctor’s attention. I think that is overkill, although a quick search uncovered the same advice on the website for the Mayo Clinic.

Doc’s First Aid Guide is a book you’ll hopefully never need, but if you do, you’ll be glad you have it. Keep it on your ereader and smartphone with the appropriate app and you’ll always be prepared.

Format/Typo Issues:

No significant issues.

Rating: **** Four stars

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