Where There Is No Doctor is a great resource for anyone on a boat — not just for those doing extended cruising, but anywhere that medical help just isn’t 10 minutes away.
I first got a copy of it in the mid-1990’s, before a camping trip to Africa. And it went along on several other trips and was one of the first things I packed to move aboard Que Tal.
It was updated — and considerably expanded, now with over 500 pages — in 2010, and is now available as a free PDF download, along with several other similar titles such as Where There Is No Dentist (I haven’t used it).
Special thanks to TBG reader Laurie Jones (read her blog here) for letting me know about this. I had purchased a hard copy way back when and had no clue it was available in electronic format for free!
This isn’t a first aid book like you might be used to, and you’ll probably want a couple of other references as well. The best description of the book comes straight from the introduction:
This handbook has been written primarily for those who live far from medical centers, in places where there is no doctor. . . . guidelines are included not only for what to do, but for when to seek help. . . . But because doctors or health workers are not always nearby, the book also suggests what to do in the meantime — even for very serious problems. (Emphasis in original)
It’s that “what to do in the meantime” that makes it such an invaluable resource. Even if you’re just out for a daysail or a weekend, you may be an hour or more from help — and you may not even be able to call for advice via cell phone or radio. Having a copy of this on your laptop, tablet or smartphone means that you always have the information you need.
Additionally, Where There Is No Doctor deals with many medical problems that aren’t covered in standard first aid books — or at least those sold in the US. For cruisers heading to the Caribbean, Central America or Mexico, the information on things like cholera, dengue and malaria is invaluable — although I was always relieved when I checked symptoms and could say that I didn’t seem to have one of those!And unlike so many other books, it actually tells you when you need prescription medicines and the proper doses. No, not as a substitute for seeing a doctor but for those times when it could be a day or more to even reach a doctor. We used this information several times.
You can get your FREE copy of Where There Is No Doctor by downloading each chapter individually. If you want it all in one PDF, you’ll see a link at the bottom of the page to purchase it for $8.
If you want the Kindle version or a paper copy, you can get it on Amazon: