View Full Version : Seeking information on CW Medical...

03-26-2009, 08:46 PM

To start off with, I am a multi-period reenacter from North Carolina. I done CW a few years back (Approx. 8 years all togeather) but I have gotten way from it by doing mostly WWII British and WWII U.S. Navy....I miss doing CW and I want to get back into it. I am a full-time EMS worker and a part-time firefighter, I have always had an interest in CW medicine and how it differs from modern and making this known to spectators and reenacters alike. Seeing that I am a State EMT....I feel I can function as a TRUE medical purpose on the field.

I have researched a few years back on the subjet of Ambulance Corps/Steward....But I have lost all my research. I am coming here to ask for yall's help on what I need to perform this impression. I want to be in the field with the infantry. My current idea is to buy a medical canteen in addition to mine, a haversack, and belt, Also I am thinking about buying a confederate hardpack and modifying it to accomudate modern supplies in a way that supplies are organized in a EMS Trauma bag, I have already started making plans for this. Also, adding a small pouch on the inside of my haversack to hold small items (Band-aids, triangular bandages, shears, Ammonia inhalents, bee stings, thermometer, tweziers etc.)

I am wandering would a hard pack and basic gear be all that I would need...or is it too much, Because the Medical Unit I am wanting to be with...has all the period stuff for the hospital and display, but I want USEFUL supplies in the field. Any information or criticizim would be greatly appreciated....pelase feel free to contact me by email or AIM.

Thanks....Take care...all


"Doc" Nelson
03-26-2009, 09:26 PM
First off . . welcome from a fellow Firefighter.

Second, there are many posts within this conference (Medical & Relief Societies). Start there, then branch out and research the duties and such of a Steward during the WBTS.

May I also suggest something other than an Steward? If so, you also have the option to go as an Orderly. This would be a very simple impression, per se.

If your unit already has a medical section, draw from their knowledge as well. If there is a Surgeon/Assistant Surgeon in your unit, you can follow as an Orderly (no need for a ton of "stuff").

However, if its a Steward's impression you are wanting to do, Noah Briggs would be an awesome resource to inquire with. He had an excellent Steward's impression.

I don't know what else to tell you? I, myself, have never had a Steward's impression so, I am at a loss in regards to adding much . . sorry :(

I do wish you well on your endeavor. Hopefully, we'll cross paths on the battlefield one day. Until then, good luck and, God speed ;) .

03-26-2009, 10:36 PM
Thanks mate,

I forgot about an orderly....from what I can remember..that would be the equivalent of a modern combat medic right? Cause I am wanting to do a someewhat WBTS combat medic or the like....Thank you for the information.

Stay Safe So That Everyone Goes Home. JM & VI - 3/7/08

03-27-2009, 08:29 AM
Good morning, Mr. Dunham,

First, welcome to the forum.

Second, I have time to post only briefly, so here goes.

Based on your descriptions I think the best route for you is an orderly. No extra insignia, a hardpack loaded with period supplies on top and modern materials underneath. It's going to be heavy (then again, in your line of work, that's not going to be a problem). Ideally you should be with an assistant surgeon when you do this and you should be setting up some distance from the regiment. However I suspect you would like to make compromises to make sure you are as close to your buddies as possible.

Milk Creek Sutlery has begun selling some repro surgical instruments. I believe a bent bandage scissors is in order, after that look the site over to see what else you may need. You might want to ask them oif the scissors needs sharpening.

Welcome aboard once again, and at some point hope to see you out in the field.

03-27-2009, 11:55 AM
My idea was to keep the pack with just Modern supplies...I wasent going to carry any period stuff in the field...and only use them for displays.

"Doc" Nelson
03-27-2009, 02:39 PM
I forgot about an orderly....from what I can remember..that would be the equivalent of a modern combat medic right?
Well honestly, an equivalent to a modern combat medic would be an Assistant Surgeon. With the training and knowledge modern combat medics have, it would surpass the equivalent training and knowledge during the period. But, an Assistant Surgeon would an equivalent to a modern combat medic.

As for an Orderly impression. Its simple, an Orderly was normally a male nurse (usually a Private). It would be a very simple impression. As Noah stated, not a whole lot to worry about carrying with you. If you haven't gotten in with the medical group yet, check with them when you do, to see what they advise you. They may have some items for you to carry.

As for modern medical supplies. People have varying opinions on the subject. But, there's nothing wrong with it, if its kept out of sight. However, you can also add some flare by, using period medical supplies (i.e. bandages, etc.) for real medical issues such as cuts. Heck, at 2006 Perryville, one of my Pards had broken his rotator cuff and, I fixed him up using his period bandages.

03-27-2009, 04:41 PM
Thank you,

I am waiting for an email back from the unit to see what they say...I will let yall' know when I hear something.. Thanks agian.... Take Care.

"Doc" Nelson
03-27-2009, 06:25 PM
Cool Beans . . keep us posted ;) .

03-28-2009, 06:24 AM
First, before you spend any time or money on this......

If you want to also offer real world medical care, check the liability you would be assuming. I don't know the laws in your state, but medical liability can be a big issue. Are you liable only for the people you treat, or for anything that happens at an event you are at, even if an injury/illness happens and you are not made aware of it/it is reported as "nothing serious". This can get even trickier when it involves peds.

Also, what are the laws of states you will be traveling to for events. Do they have reciprocity for your level of training? If not, you could run into some malpractice issues.

Do you carry malpractice insurance? You usually don't need it at the first aider/firstresponder/EMT level when volunteering in your town or working for your town/ambulance service, they cover that for you. When you start working independent of them, are you covered? I would check into that as well. If they do not cover you out of their jurisdiction, I would look into getting my own malpractice policy. It is a lawsuit world today.

This is only some advice and knowledge I have gained from 10+ years in healthcare as an EMT and RN. I hope it is helpful to you.

03-28-2009, 08:28 AM
Thanks for the info....I have been thinking about that...But aslong as I am IN my state I can function....and I am going to dig deeper for the insurance...thanks...

"Doc" Nelson
03-28-2009, 09:11 AM
The "Good Samaritan Law" has always been a loaded issue.

As a Firefighter for almost 20 years . . if you are an Emergency Care Provider in your state, you would normally be protected by the Good Samaritan Law, if you respond to an emergency while "off-duty" (i.e. during an event such as a reenactment). As long as you render aid that's within the realm of your training and certification. The only people exempt would be fulltime, career professionals (usually doctors, nurses, etc.). However, if you are an Emergency Care Provider (Firefighter, EMT, etc.), there in that capacity with your department/agency, you would normally fall under the same category as a fulltime, career professional (i.e. on standby for the event with your agency). But, that point, you should be covered under the department/agency's insurance. And, as long as you follow protocol and, stay within the scope of your training/certification, you would be normally covered by their insurance.

My guess is, you're looking at it from the standpoint of a participant, not an Emergency Care Provider, there on standby for the event. In that case, in order for a lawsuit to be successful, four items must be present:

1) An individual must have a duty to act.
2) A breach of the duty must occur.
3) An injury must occur because of the breach.
4) The injury must be a direct result of the action or inaction of the individual.

In most states, the "trained but off duty and unequiped EMT" in this situation does not have a duty to act. Although he may feel morally obligated to help out, there is no legal requirement to do so. He is off duty and protected legally just as John Q. Public is.

You also need to remember, the Good Samaritan Law may protect you from criminal charges but, you could still be sued for civil tort. Regardless, I would check with your state's EMS department responsible for training and certifications. They would have the latest and greatest.

03-28-2009, 10:26 PM
Here is how it is in NJ, which is why I say to look into you state laws, I will correct some things from the above post for NJ:

1) An individual must have a duty to act.

In NJ, EMTs have a duty to act if the person/persons are aware of your level of training and you fail to render aid. Whether you are paid to work the event as staff or are a participant as a re-enactor, you are held to the same standard.

2) A breach of the duty must occur.

See above

3) An injury must occur because of the breach.

In NJ (an most places with some common sense) the injury/illness occurred prior to the EMT not rendering aid. The condition must have worsened/become life threatening/caused extended disability (extended used losely) as a result of aid not being rendered.

4) The injury must be a direct result of the action or inaction of the individual.

Once again, in NJ, the injury/illness has already occurred, which is why the patient would need assistance. See above.

I was not talking about criminal negligence. Most malpractice insurance has a crim neg clause, and you are not covered. I was speaking strictly of licensing and civil suits. As any well educated healthcare professional (used loosely with volunteers) will know, criminal trials are not the number one worry. The burden of proof in a criminal trial is 99.9%. The civil trials are rough as the burden of proof is 50.1%, and the fate of your license is left to fate and the whim of the individuals on the licensing board.

As far as Good Sam, in NJ, the more training you have, the further away you are from the protection it provides. In NJ, you are expected to function to the level and standards of you license. This gets tricky with reciprocity, because each state has their own regs. An EMT in NJ may be negligent in PA, simply because they do not know the protocols of that state; even though he/she has reciprocity. It is not as t and dry as Good Sam may lead you to believe.

Once again, I recommend to check your state's laws and those of states you plan on attending events in. Also, check into malpractice insurance, and know the protocols of the state you are in, if they grant you reciprocity. If they do not grant reciprocity, do not get involved.

"Doc" Nelson
03-28-2009, 11:59 PM
Well, here is a link to New Jersey's statute on Good Samaritan. If I read it correctly, it states as followed:

In its present form, New Jersey's "Good Samaritan Act" provides immunity to (1) any individual, including health care professionals; (2) the members of volunteer first aid, rescue and ambulance squads and (3) municipal, county and State law enforcement officers, who in good faith render emergency care at the scene of an accident or in an emergency or who, in the case of volunteer members of first aid, rescue and ambulance squads, transport the victims of an accident or
emergency to a hospital or other facility for treatment.
Reference: http://www.njleg.state.nj.us/9899/Bills/a2500/2270_i1.pdf

Although, in a case that took place in 2002, an appeals court has ruled that emergency medical technicians are not entitled to immunity for negligence in record-keeping that leads to injury or death.

Reference: http://www.stanglerlaw.com/CM/InTheNews/InTheNews18.asp

North Carolina's statute on Good Samaritan reads as follows:

90‑21.14. First aid or emergency treatment; liability limitation.

(a) Any person, including a volunteer medical or health care provider at a facility of a local health department as defined in G.S. 130A‑2 or at a nonprofit community health center or a volunteer member of a rescue squad, who receives no compensation for his services as an emergency medical care provider, who renders first aid or emergency health care treatment to a person who is unconscious, ill or injured,

(1) When the reasonably apparent circumstances require prompt decisions and actions in medical or other health care, and

(2) When the necessity of immediate health care treatment is so reasonably apparent that any delay in the rendering of the treatment would seriously worsen the physical condition or endanger the life of the person, shall not be liable for damages for injuries alleged to have been sustained by the person or for damages for the death of the person alleged to have occurred by reason of an act or omission in the rendering of the treatment unless it is established that the injuries were or the death was caused by gross negligence, wanton conduct or intentional wrongdoing on the part of the person rendering the treatment.

(a1) Recodified as 90‑21.16 by Session Laws 2001‑230, s. 1(a).

(b) Nothing in this section shall be deemed or construed to relieve any person from liability for damages for injury or death caused by an act or omission on the part of such person while rendering health care services in the normal and ordinary course of his business or profession. Services provided by a volunteer health care provider who receives no compensation for his services and who renders first aid or emergency treatment to members of athletic teams are deemed not to be in the normal and ordinary course of the volunteer health care provider's business or profession.

(c) In the event of any conflict between the provisions of this section and those of G.S. 20‑166(d), the provisions of G.S. 20‑166(d) shall control and continue in full force and effect. (1975, 2nd Sess., c. 977, s. 4; 1985, c. 611, s. 2; 1989, cc. 498, 655; 1991, c. 655, s. 1; 1993, c. 439, s. 1; 1995, c. 85, s. 1; 2000‑5, s. 4; 2001‑230, ss. 1(a), 2.)
Reference: http://www.ncleg.net/enactedlegislation/statutes/html/bysection/chapter_90/gs_90-21.14.html . . also: http://www.ncleg.net/gascripts/Statutes/StatutesSearch.asp?searchCriteria=compensation&searchScope=All&returnType=Section&page=9

03-29-2009, 08:24 AM
In its present form, New Jersey's "Good Samaritan Act" provides immunity to (1) any individual, including health care professionals; (2) the members of volunteer first aid, rescue and ambulance squads and

The way I read that, it sounds like if you're a member of a totally volunteer squad, then you're immune. If you're paid, you're not immune.

However, here's the big issue for reenacting. What if a member of a paid squad is at a reenactment, off-duty, and not being paid by the reenactment to act as an EMT? Does the immunity toggle on and off, depending on whether an EMT is being paid at any given moment?

Hank Trent

03-29-2009, 10:04 AM
Good Sam protection works like this, for Doc Nelson, who seems not to get it.

If you act in good faith to assist some one, you do everything according to your training, and the person still dies/disabled/whatever you are not liable.

If you fail to act, do not render appropriate aid, fail to render aid, render aid below or above the level of your training, etc. You are laible and Good Sam does not protect you. Also, if you are paid and off duty (even if you also volunteer) you are not covered. That issue was covered in a law suit here in NJ some years back.

Even with all that said, You have 0% protection from a civil suit, even with Good Sam. The person may lose the suit, but you still have to spend time and money to defend yourself.

Check into malpractice coverage.

"Doc" Nelson
03-29-2009, 10:15 AM
Well, for you that do not get it. In KENTUCKY, if we are off duty, we are not "under contract" (we're not in the service of our agency/department) so, we have no legal responsibility to act or render aid. No matter what our certification is . . PERIOD!

In Kentucky:

KRS 411.148


(1) No physician licensed under KRS Chapter 311, registered or practical nurse licensed under KRS Chapter 314, person certified as an emergency medical technician by the Kentucky Cabinet for Human Resources, person certified by the American Heart Association or the American Red Cross to perform cardiopulmonary resuscitation, or employee of any board of education established pursuant to the provision of > KRS 160.160, who has completed a course in first aid and who maintains current certification therein in accordance with the standards set forth by the American Red Cross shall be liable in civil damages for administering emergency care or treatment at the scene of an emergency outside of a hospital, doctor's office, or other place having proper medical equipment excluding house calls, for acts performed at the scene of such emergency, unless such acts constitute willful or wanton misconduct.

(2) Nothing in this section applies to the administering of such care or treatment where the same is rendered for remuneration or with the expectation of remuneration.

(3) The administering of emergency care or treatment at the scene of an emergency by employees of a board of education shall not be considered to be rendered for remuneration or with the expectation of remuneration because such personnel perform such care as part of their regular professional or work responsibilities for which they receive their regular salaries from the school board which is their employer.

This law was later amended to add Paramedics:

311A.150 Privileges and immunities of paramedics and first responders.
A paramedic licensed pursuant to this chapter and a first responder certified pursuant to this chapter shall have the privileges and immunities specified in KRS 411.148, subject to the provisions of that statute.
Effective: July 15, 2002
History: Created 2002 Ky. Acts ch. 211, sec. 27, effective July 15, 2002.

Regardless, lets try to get this thread back on track and, to the original inquiry. I'm not gonna get into a pi**ing contest. Just read your state's laws. If there is something that's not clear . . ask your state legislature for a clarification on the law.

03-29-2009, 11:03 AM
I didn't want to get an agroument atarted, I am sorry for opening a can of worms....but I do appreciate the information

"Doc" Nelson
03-29-2009, 11:11 AM
I didn't want to get an agroument atarted, I am sorry for opening a can of worms....but I do appreciate the information
Just check with your state's department that is responsible for training and certification (as well as your agency's rules/regulations). They will have the latest and greatest regarding your responsibility to "act" while off duty.

Regardless, its always been an issue because, you can still be sued for any reason, by anyone, at any time. Remember O.J. Simpson? Even though he was cleared of criminal charges, he was still sued and, lost the lawsuit in civil court. I know that's an odd comparison. But, its the best example I can give regarding being cleared of criminal wrong doing and, still being sued in civil court.

Enough on this subject. If it continues, I will lock down the thread. Lets stay on track with the original inquiry.

03-30-2009, 08:03 AM
Mr. Dunham,

Looks like the short story is to check out the various rules in your home state and where you plan to attend. Too many [expletive] out there hoping to make a buck by second-guessing your immediate decisions.

As Nelson stated the immediate equivalent to a combat medic is the assistant surgeon. He and the hospital steward are the principal verterbae in the backbone of the medical corps in the Federal and Confedearate Armies army.

I'm pretty certain you will be familiar with many immediate trauma treatments today. For period treatments I'd recommend reading On Bandaging and Other Minor Operations by F.W. Sargent. The title is pretty self-explanatory. Once you get past the bandaging techniques you will read about splinting and traction methods. Some of the rigs get very Rube Goldbergian, but I'll bet they will be familiar to any ER physician or first-responder.

I'll have to look around and find the titles, but I know there are a couple of different military surgical manuals out there which discuss treating GSWs and other battlefield wounds without the useless, long-winded philosophical fluff characteristic of such books. Sargent's book and the Hospital Steward's Manual by J.J. Woodward would be good introductions to you on basic nineteenth century hospital and treatment procedures to compare/contrast with your current duties.

Good luck on your impression, and stop by if you have more questions. And know that I have no intention of suing any medical professional who makes a mistake on me. Even if it will cost me my life. Even medical professionals make mistakes from time to time.