Why Armageddon Medicine?

What if the unthinkable happens?  World War III? Economic collapse?  Worldwide plague?  Biblical Armageddon?

What about our not-so-friendly nuclear neighbors?  Or a flu pandemic reminiscent of the Andromeda Strain?  Or an EMP event resulting in a power grid collapse?

Assuming you’re fortunate enough to live through the initial event, will you be able to care for yourself in an era of no doctors, no hospitals, no pharmacies? Perhaps a few physicians will survive as well, but where are they? Can the few remaining assume care for the devastated population?

I am not an alarmist. My lifetime has been one of prolonged American prosperity. But I have often wondered how long it can last, and have come to doubt the continued stability of our nation and society. Although I am not an expert on end-of-world survival, I do have decades of practical experience as a family physician. If such an unthinkable event occurs, how will people care for themselves?

The young and healthy have little know-how when it comes to self-care for injuries, infections, childbirth, and nutrition. Millions of middle-aged souls suffer from diabetes, depression, heart disease, asthma, arthritis, back pain, and ulcers. What about the elderly with poor eyesight, poor digestion, poor mobility, and a poor prognosis? Who will care for them?

If the power grid is destroyed there will be no water, no food, no social services, at least not with the abundance and availability with which we’re accustomed. What will you do if you contract pneumonia? Can you survive if you’re diabetic? Will your child die of scarlet fever? These are just a few of the questions I’ve asked myself. Though it sounds grim, there is hope.

Although others have written excellent books regarding surviving the end of the world as we know it, the medical information contained therein is limited. If society is to continue, those who remain must know how to care for themselves. The common maladies will continue to plague mankind. No doubt new threats will emerge.

This web site is intended to help the survivors – and those who hope to survive. How can you prepare if you have children? What will you do if you’re diabetic? Is there any hope for your parents with heart disease and arthritis?

You’ll find articles on preparedness, acute injuries, infections, childbirth, chronic illness, mental health, and nutrition. Checklists will help you know what to do before the big event and how to prepare for life afterward. Detailed instructions on common illnesses will tell you what a physician would do and how you can care for yourself. Practical advice on managing chronic disease will assure those with serious problems of continued survival.

Even if nothing happens (and let’s hope it doesn’t), the information contained herein is valuable advice. The human body will not have changed. Knowledge is power and it’s always a good idea to learn how best to care for yourself.

Cynthia J. Koelker, MD

About Cynthia J. Koelker, MD

CYNTHIA J KOELKER , MD is a board-certified family physician with over twenty years of clinical experience. A member of American Mensa, Dr. Koelker holds degrees in biology, humanities, medicine, and music from M.I.T., Case Western Reserve University School of Medicine, and the University of Akron. She served in the National Health Service Corps to finance her medical education.
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15 Responses to Why Armageddon Medicine?

  1. PetraPrepper says:

    I found info on Mental HEALTH but none on Mental Illness (ex: Bipolar Disorder, Schizophrenia, and other Mood Disorders and Personality Disorders). Symptoms of such diseases and conditions, particularly if accompanied by psychosis, hallucinations, delusions, paranoid thinking, can be greatly exacerbated during times of stress and upheaval. In many if not most cases medication must be taken daily and cannot be stopped suddenly without serious health consequences to the individual -and those around him or her. In a significant disaster such individuals would have at most between 1-3 months of meds because of the insurance company restrictions. As for the section on Mental Health it did not address mental health during and after a disaster. The text was mostly generic and some was not evidence-based. Also, although CHRONIC ILLNESS has a place on your site, under that rubric I found no mention of those living with AUTO-IMMUNE DISEASE (Multiple Sclerosis, Lupus, Scleroderma, Rheumatoid Arthritis, etc.) Same as above: stress-mediated and may worsen significantly in a disaster. Dependent on daily meds but only 1-3 months with because of insurance companies.

  2. The medical aspect of prepping is vital. Many of us including myself, need to take action to learn these skills for ourselves. Thanks for providing this info.

    I add your website to the survival/prepper website list on Survival Pulse. I also added a new medical section to help raise awareness on medical aspects of prepping.

  3. Beth B says:

    I am getting more and more reports from client families of elderly patients of “strong recommendations/encouragement” to place loved ones on Hospice, or “just stop his blood pressure medications” and the like. I also have reports of Medicare refusing to pay for certain surgeries on patients over age 85, and hospital physicians “miscoding” a patient as in for “observation” (not formally admitted, so Medicare won’t pay for rehab). From where I’m standing, this looks eerily like the dark underbelly of healthcare rationing under ObamaCare. I know from a surgeon friend that the hospitals have only so much money to work with, and are likely to reserve those funds for more “worthy of care” younger/middle aged clients. Is anyone else seeing similar situations in their practice?

  4. Sir Vivor says:

    Outstanding Site. I have just purchased the book and look forward to more research on here.

  5. Mariansdukie says:

    Although I am an RN, I just ordered this book as I believe it will be a valuable resource for us to increase my knowledge for a time when a Dr is no longer an option. When I read about it, I knew I just had to order it. Thanks

  6. GoneWithTheWind says:

    Human history is more than sufficient to prove that sooner or later it will all end badly. What, exactly, the disaster will be no one can predict accurately. Many will survive the “event” or series of events but they may not survive the tough times associated with it. My parents raised a family during the depression and their experiences were common topics of discussion as I was growing up. One thing my mother said one day stood out more than the rest, a real “aha!” moment. I asked her why they didn’t do more in 1929 and 1930 to prepare for it. Her reply was that no one knew how long it was going to last or how bad it would get. If you survive the pandemic, collapse, or WW III you need to prepare to survive for years with little of the safety net we now take for granted. If you don’t believe in “prepping” today, all I can say is when disaster strikes, do not assume things will return to normal in 30 days or so. If you haven’t prepared before something happens please recognize that once afterward your options and time have been greatly reduced and you need to catch up. You don’t have time to waste or sit in stunned silence.

  7. Robert says:

    How long is cefuroxime, Ceftin good after exp. date. if keep at 65 degrees.
    Thanks, Robert.

    [To my knowledge this drug hasn’t been studied specifically, but check out the following two articles regarding general principles regarding the use of expired meds – Doc Cindy]


  8. WolfBrother says:

    I’ve been participating on a 3rd World, Austere, Ditch medicine forum for a number of years.

    Given the range of disaster noted above this is what I predict:

    1. The 10% or so of the people who use 80% or so of the available medical structure are mainly going to die. The remaining folks are going to see their quality of life drop dramatically and their expected length of life shorten significantly.

    2. We would drop back to a Post Civil War – Pre-World War One level of medicine tempered with our knowledge of Sanitation and Hygiene.

    3. Best guess – there will be some small areas where things are better than everywhere else. If they’re not protected/defended MZB’s (Mutant Zombie Bikers) will take it over and ruin it.

    All in all – not a happy picture. BUT we will take our knowledge and do the best we can.

    • Doc Cindy says:

      Another thought – our understanding of medical disease is significantly advanced over WWI. Even if we don’t still have today’s technology, today’s knowledge base can benefit future treatment.

      For example, post-op patients were once encouraged to stay in bed. Now we know this leads to (occasionally fatal) blood clots, and so early mobilization is preferred. Because medical studies have identified bacteria commonly responsible for certain illnesses, we know which antibiotics are best to use, even if cultures are not available.

  9. Runningman says:

    I just discovered your website. A great deal of helpful information. I look forward to your book.
    Thank you so much for sharing some of your knowledge.

  10. T. Bennett says:


  11. mere says:

    Can I subscribe to this site for updates? What a fantastic book – I can’t wait for it to be available!

  12. Great blog – very timely. Will check back often.

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