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Saturday, July 30, 2011

Post SHTF Disease/Healthcare Medical Planning

We received the following comment from a reader,....."I have three kids with insulin-dependent diabetes. In an ice chest, two 2-liter bottles of frozen tap-water will go 2 days without melting. Reserve an area of a open-top, chest-type, freezer to keep as many 2-liter ice bottles as is possible. These provide thermal-capacitance to the chest. In colonial days, ponds would be cut-up in winter -- WHAT?! -- In Northern states ponds could have a 3-ft thickness of ice. These huge slabs of ice would be mule-teamed into underground (giant root-cellars) keeps that stayed at around 55 deg F. Large amounts (actually MASSIVE) amounts of straw would be packed between these huge slabs of ice. Ice could be kept for months like this. With our modern forms of insulation, we can store small items for a long time -- especially if we intermittently get power or have a generator. Regular insulin will keep for a year or better, but ONLY if properly cooled (not frozen). Manufacturers of insulin used to keep a 6 month supply of insulin in powder form -- which could then be re-constituted. They will not sell insulin in powder form. "

UrbanMan's comments::  No doubt the reader with insulin dependent children has read "One Second After", which incidentally just came out in paper back.  This fictional account of survival after a EMP attack does not end well for insulin dependent people in the story.  This is a challenge I am fortunate enough not to have.  It is hard enough to plan for probable routine medical needs and emergency medical situations without having to stock and properly store vital medications for pre-existing diseases or conditions. 

I know of a gent who has a family member in need of home dialysis 3 to 4 times weeks.  Apparently this is through a semi-permanent tube into the body.  This gent's challenge is to procure enough dialysis supplies for a year with the intent at the six month mark to extend the supply by reducing the procedure which in turn would create a bed ridden patient. 

Very tough circumstances to work a solution for.   It seems for the insulin the only solution would be to procure years of supplies and develop a SHTF - Collapse proof cold storage capability.  Which may have to combine cold weather, underground and limited power solutions to work. 

Had anybody out there developed a solution for post STHF storage of vital medications? 


  1. The problem will not be refrigereation it will be access to needed medications. If the situation is bad enough then the sick and elderly will die. In fact if the situation requires serious physical effort most of the sick, weak and elderly will die in the first week even if they still have their medications. The only way you will be able to save/help someone in this condition is to have minimal disruption, comfortable conditions, adequate food and constant attention. Without this only the strong will survive. It is the natural way of life.

  2. The Nobel Prize was awarded almost 100 years ago for the discovery of insulin.
    Now a days we have Genetically Modified E.Coli bacteria growing human insulin. Soon, we may even have GM Safflower insulin. That would be great for us preppers because we ALL know how to garden…

    In terms of a post SHTF… (I don't know the exact recipe as, I'm not diabetic). But the short version is this:

    -Find a pancreas. Pig is best, cow works fine, but ultimately all mammals produce insulin.

    -Freeze it (probably make your whole years supply in winter, while you’ll be more dependent on animals for food anyway).

    -Cut it up and dehydrate it (think Beef Jerky, but... not).

    -Grind it up into a powder. It stores well dried, but must be mixed with water and injected.

    Before the doctors figured out the exact science of the dose, they found a dollop of honey helped prevent the patients sugar from bottoming out.

    End of the World doesn’t mean we have to live like animals… ;-)

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