The 10 Best Books for Medical Emergencies

Are you studying emergency medicine? Or, do you want to have references and instructions on hand to prepare for any medical emergencies? Books are excellent resources that can help you, that’s why survivalists and preppers always have one on hand. Many practitioners also keep books in their office and use them often for information regarding medical conditions. Since there are so many books out there, it can be hard to decide which one is best. 

So, what are the best books for medical emergencies? Here are the top 10 picks for books about medical emergencies: 

  1. The Ultimate Survival Medicine HandbookOpens in a new tab.
  2. Living Ready Pocket Manual: First Aid Fundamentals For SurvivalOpens in a new tab.
  3. Wilderness Medicine: Beyond First AidOpens in a new tab.
  4. The Survival Medicine Handbook: A Guide for When Help is NOT On The WayOpens in a new tab.
  5. The American Red Cross First Aid and Safety HandbookOpens in a new tab.
  6. ACEP First Aid Manual 5th Edition: The Step-by-Step Guide for EveryoneOpens in a new tab.
  7. Special Operations Forces Medical HandbookOpens in a new tab.
  8. First Aid Fast for Babies and ChildrenOpens in a new tab.
  9. Medicine for the Outdoors: The Essential Guide to First Aid and Medical EmergencyOpens in a new tab.
  10. Prepper’s Survival Medicine Handbook: A Life-saving Collection of Emergency Procedures from U.S. Army Field Manuals Opens in a new tab.

Emergency medicine typically takes place in hospitals and medical facilities. However, emergency medicine can be applied anywhere if you have the right resources to guide you. Let’s go over the best books to have, so you’ll be prepared for any medical disaster.

Emergency Medicine 

Emergency medicine mainly focuses on treating trauma from accidents and health conditions that may be life-threatening. The primary goal is to resuscitate and stabilize the patient while diagnosing and treating any illness that may be present.

Things to Consider

Since there are so many different kinds of medical books out there about emergency medicine, it can become a bit overwhelming. The fact that some of the books can be a bit expensive makes it more challenging. 

Here are some things to consider while you are searching for a medical book:

  • Do you plan on using the book for personal use or in the emergency department?
  • When was the book printed? (Is it considered current or outdated?)
  • Who are the authors and editors, do they have medical experience? 
  • What is the goal of buying this book? 

Knowing why you’re buying the book in the first place can help narrow down the choices. If you’re buying it to have a book on hand in case an emergency happens, then a pocketbook or manual would be useful. If you’re studying medicine or need an ongoing reference, then go with an academic book. 

By finding out who wrote and edited the book, you’ll have a sense of whether the book is meant for an academic or community setting. Academic authors are usually up to date on all the best practices for emergency medicine. 

Books meant for community settings are usually focused on providing information on community-related emergency medicine. Some of them are written in layman terms or have diagrams and graphs to make it easier for people to read and understand. 

Pocket handbooks for emergency medicine are ideal for personal use or for when you’re on the go. If you want something more detailed and extensive, then you’ll want the longer (textbook) version, complete with:

  • Pathophysiology
  • History of the illness
  • Diagnostics algorithms
  • Treatment plans

Best Books for Survival & Emergency First Aid

Medical emergencies can happen while you’re out on the road or somewhere in the wild, which is why it’s always a good idea to have some books about survival & first aid. These books focus on applying emergency medicine in situations where it may be difficult to obtain materials or supplies. 

The survival books have helpful information and tips and can be kept inside the car or packed with camping gear. Here are the top 10 choices: 

1. The Survival Medicine Handbook: A Guide for When Help Is NOT on The Way

This book is a survival manual written by experts who teach and practice emergency medicine. It’s an excellent resource for practical first aid and medicine in situations where there’s no doctor coming. It’s a good way to learn how to handle a medical emergency if you’re far away from civilization. 

The Second Edition is focused on helping non-medical people deal with emergency situations that may arise (assuming there are no hospitals or doctors around). It comes with instructions on how to diagnose and treat over a hundred medical issues. This handbook is a common favorite among many survivalists and preppers. 

Pros:

  • Covers basic first aid and multiple medical conditions 
  • Easy to read
  • Has step-by-step instructions
  • Price: Low 

Cons:

  • There are not always illustrations for each procedure, so some of them may be hard to understand

2. Living Ready Pocket Manual: First Aid Fundamentals for Survival

This is a first aid manual geared towards survivalists who want to learn how to take care of medical emergencies in situations where there may be no hospitals or doctors nearby. 

The goal is to teach people how to be quick and take effective action to stabilize a person in need of medical attention. It’s written in layman terms to make it easier to understand. There’s also a section about equipment and supplies you can use for survival first aid kits. 

Pros:

  • Covers basic first aid 
  • Easy to read
  • Has packing lists for preparing first aid kits
  • Price: Low

Cons:

  • It doesn’t cover a wide range of medical conditions

3. Wilderness Medicine: Beyond First Aid

Written by a doctor, this book will help you recognize and treat any wilderness emergencies. It covers a wide variety of problems and illnesses in an easy-to-read fashion, complete with illustrations. 

The topics are also easy to access, so you don’t waste time flipping through the pages searching for them. Many preppers and survivalists keep this book on hand. It’s a great “how-to” book to keep with your camping gear. 

Pros:

  • Covers multiple medical conditions and illnesses that may occur in the wild 
  • Easy to find references
  • Has step-by-step instructions

Cons:

  • The information may seem limited compared to some of the other handbooks on this list

4. The Ultimate Survival Medicine Handbook

This handbook is similar to The Survival Medicine Handbook: A Guide for When Help Is NOT On The Way. The main purpose of this book is to help people prepare for any medical disaster that may happen. It also serves as a handy resource tool to have while you’re camping or hiking in the wild. It’s well written with clear and concise information that is easy to find and read, along with step-by-step instructions. 

Pros:

  • Covers basic first aid and multiple medical conditions 
  • Has step-by-step instructions

Cons:

  • There are not always illustrations for each procedure, so some of them may be hard to understand

5. ACEP First Aid Manual 5th Edition: The Step-By-Step Guide for Everyone

The ACEP manual was created by experts that participate in organizations like the American College of Emergency Physicians (ACEP). It covers hundreds of conditions, ranging from splinters to strokes. 

The 5th Edition has an updated design that makes it easier to follow and understand the instructions. There are photographic sequences to show what to do, along with helpful tips and notes. This is a useful resource that anyone can use, even if you don’t have any medical experience. 

Pros:

  • Covers a wide range of medical conditions, illnesses, and other medical emergency scenarios 
  • Easy to read 
  • Has step-by-step instructions

Cons:

  • There are not always illustrations for each procedure, so some of them may be hard to understand

6.The American Red Cross First Aid and Safety Handbook

The American Red Cross handbook is another guide primarily focused on helping people identify and understand every type of first aid emergency scenario, and what to do about them. It also discusses in depth how to treat any wounds or injuries that may occur. 

Even though the book was published in the ’90s, the content is still valuable and applicable to emergency scenarios you may encounter. 

Pros:

  • Covers basic first aid and multiple medical conditions
  • Has extensive how-to information

Cons:

  • The book was published in the ’90s (a bit outdated)

7. Special Operations Forces Medical Handbook

This handbook has information that comes from the Department of Defense. Special ops forces members are highly trained to survive in extreme conditions and handle any medical emergencies that may arise. 

Many preppers and survivalists collect military how-to books for a good reason. Any books about how the military (especially special forces) approach medical emergencies are guaranteed to have helpful information and tips. 

Pros:

  • Covers basic first aid 
  • Discusses emergency medicine procedures
  • Has step-by-step instructions

Cons:

  • Information is limited to what special ops forces are trained to do

8. First Aid Fast for Babies and Children (DK Edition) 

This DK edition is revised to include updated information regarding emergency procedures for parents and caregivers. It provides step-by-step instructions for medical emergencies with photographs and references.

You can also find helpful advice on child safety and whether you should take the child to the hospital or call an ambulance. This book will help you deal with a child’s injury or emergency that may require first aid. 

Pros:

  • Covers basic first aid and multiple medical conditions 
  • Easy to read with quick references
  • Has step-by-step instructions

Cons:

  • The large size is not easy to carry compared to a pocket book 

9. Medicine for the Outdoors: The Essential Guide to First Aid and Medical Emergency

Medicine for the Outdoors is considered one of the best take-along manuals filled with extensive knowledge on how to approach wilderness emergencies. This book lists the best ways to respond to a wide variety of medical emergencies when help is miles away. 

The author is a leading expert on wilderness medicine and explains clearly how to handle other issues that may arise, like infectious diseases. The book also covers other topics. For example, finding materials and medicine in the wild that can help stabilize a person until you can reach a doctor or hospital. Or, how to deal with avalanches, bear attacks, and more. 

Pros:

  • Covers basic first aid and multiple medical conditions
  • Discusses other survival topics
  • Easy to understand

Cons:

  • Doesn’t focus on providing information about natural remedies (medicine) that you may find outdoors

10. Prepper’s Survival Medicine Handbook: A Life-saving Collection of Emergency Procedures From U.S. Army Field Manuals

This is an excellent guide with information about field-tested medical procedures designed to help you during critical times when no doctors are available. It was written by an emergency responder who combined his knowledge with actual field manuals from the military. 

The manual goes beyond basic first aid information and covers military-tested methods for medical conditions that may be life-threatening:

  • Gunshot wounds
  • Severe burns
  • Radiation exposure
  • Broken bones & severed limbs
  • Injured or ruptured arteries
  • Snakebites (or any other poisonous bites)
  • Anaphylactic shock 

Pros:

  • Covers basic first aid and multiple medical conditions 
  • Easy to read
  • Has step-by-step instructions

Cons:

  • Information may feel a bit limited (focuses on what the military would do)

Best Medical Books for Emergencies 

These books are geared towards medicine care on the professional side, but it would be a good idea to have these books on hand to gain knowledge of medical emergencies (from a physician’s perspective). 

  1. Tintinalli’s Emergency Medicine Manual
  2. Rosen’s Emergency Medicine
  3. Tarascon Adult Emergency Medicine Pocket Book
  4. Oxford Handbook of Emergency Medicine
  5. Roberts and Hedges Clinical Procedures in Emergency Medicine
  6. Tarascon Medical Procedures Pocketbook 
  7. Atlas of Emergency Medicine 
  8. Case Files Emergency Medicine
  9. The Ultimate Emergency Medicine Guide
  10. Pediatric Emergency Medicine

1. Tintinalli’s Emergency Medicine Manual

Tintinalli’s Emergency Medicine Manual is a reference book with thorough knowledge of a wide range of emergency medicine topics. It’s a smaller version of the (more expensive) Tintinalli’s Emergency Medicine textbook, written by multiple experts who are a part of emergency medicine organizations like ACEP. 

The manual is a favorite among many because it condenses the information into presentations, pictures, and charts for easy reference regarding symptoms and diagnosis. It also covers treatment plans and touches on advanced concepts that may appeal to experienced practitioners. 

What makes this book stand out from the rest is how it investigates topics that may be forgotten by some. After all, when you’re training for medicine, it involves memorization of facts, taking multiple tests, and then some of these facts are put aside for new information.

Pros: 

  • Highly detailed and written by emergency medicine experts
  • Excellent for reference purposes 
  • Easy to carry on the go
  • Price: Low

Cons: 

  • Some of the concepts can seem advanced to people who are not practicing medicine

2. Rosen’s Emergency Medicine

This book is one of the most extensive textbooks you’ll find for emergency medicine, and it was written by some of the original leading experts of emergency medicine. It’s considered a must-have if you study emergency medicine. 

Each chapter details a wide range of conditions that a person may encounter while practicing emergency medicine. Each situation is examined from multiple angles and perspectives. In doing so, different diagnoses are reviewed and refined with diagnostic and treatment information. 

Pros: 

  • Highly detailed and written by emergency medicine experts
  • Excellent for academic purposes

Cons: 

  • Can be considered lengthy
  • This dense book is not for “light reading” 
  • Price: High

3. Tarascon Adult Emergency Medicine Pocket Book

If you want an emergency medicine handbook that is easy to carry around with you, then the Tarascon Adult Emergency Medicine pocketbook is a good choice. It’s small enough to fit inside a pocket or bag, and it’s chock full of essential up-to-date information. 

The pocketbook makes it easy to find what it is you’re looking for. Think of it as a mini reference book. It comes in handy when you’re dealing with an urgent situation and don’t have time to head over to your office to pull out a reference textbook. 

Pros: 

  • Highly detailed and written by emergency medicine experts
  • Excellent for on the go
  • Price: Low 

Cons: 

  • The small print can be hard to read for some people 

4. Oxford Handbook of Emergency Medicine

This is another excellent pocketbook to have in your bag. The Oxford Handbook for emergency medicine is considered one of the best handbooks you could have on hand. It’s written and edited by leading experts with practical advice for emergency care. 

It’s fully updated with the latest guidelines, and on the cover, it claims it can be used “for rapid references for emergencies.” It covers common emergency topics and has updated information on pediatrics. 

Pros: 

  • Highly detailed and written by emergency medicine experts
  • Excellent for on the go
  • Price: Low 

Cons: 

  • The small print can be hard to read for some people 

5. Roberts and Hedges Clinical Procedures in Emergency Medicine

Like the name says, this book focuses on covering common and advanced procedures in emergency medicine. Each section has information about procedures with step-by-step details and pictures to help the reader understand how the process is done. It also has information about complications that may occur during the procedures. 

This book is considered academic and would be an excellent addition to a student or practitioner’s collection of reference books. It’s not suited for someone who is not experienced in practicing emergency medicine. If you want a quick reference book for emergency procedures, then check out the pocketbook below. 

Pros: 

  • Highly detailed and written by experts
  • Has extensive updated information about procedure topics that other textbooks may not cover
  • Price: Medium

Cons: 

  • Focuses on procedures, not other medical emergency topics
  • More for academic or reference purposes 
  • Not for “light reading”

6. Tarascon Pocket Emergency Medicine Book Procedures

Unlike the Robert and Hedges Clinical Procedures book, this pocketbook is much smaller and more comfortable to carry. It was written by a doctor with knowledge about universal ambulatory care and hospital procedures. 

This book is handy for references, and you can find step-by-step instructions along with information about:

  • Contraindications
  • Necessary equipment
  • Fluid analysis
  • complications/coding
  • Common medical procedures

The pocketbook would be ideal for medical practitioners who perform medical procedures, but it can be used by any person who wants to learn more about emergency medical procedures.

Pros: 

  • Highly detailed and written by emergency medicine experts
  • Excellent for on the go
  • Price: Low

Cons: 

  • It doesn’t cover a wide range of topics. Some of the information may be limited. For example, it only covers 45 common medical procedures.

7. Atlas of Emergency Medicine 

The Atlas of Emergency Medicine is a guide book with visual diagnosis information regarding a wide range of medical problems one may encounter in emergency medicine. It’s a useful resource anyone can use. 

The layout of the book makes it easier to access the information. This way, you can quickly look for the information you need and act fast. The high-quality medicine images help illustrate what to look for, along with a “need-to-know” information. 

Note: The newer Edition (5th Edition) will have updated information. It will be released on November 20, 2020. 

Pros: 

  • Highly detailed and written by experts
  • Has extensive updated information about procedure topics that other textbooks may not cover
  • Excellent for academic or reference purposes 

Cons: 

  • Not easy to carry around on the go
  • Price: High

8. Case Files Emergency Medicine

The Case Files Emergency Medicine book is great for a light read. It discusses essential concepts in emergency medicine with easy to understand explanations that illustrate 59 “true-to-life cases.” 

The goal is to exercise your knowledge and critical thinking skills with challenge questions. It will also improve your approach to solving clinical problems in emergency medicine. Some students use this book as a learning system to increase their exam scores. 

Pros: 

  • Useful for academic purposes, especially if you’re going to be dealing with patients in the emergency department 
  • Easy to read and understand
  • Price: Low

Cons: 

  • It doesn’t illustrate many cases
  • Questions may seem limited

9. The Ultimate Emergency Medicine Guide

This guide book was written and composed by emergency medicine clinicians and practitioners. It’s one of the most up to date resources available with information and advice directly from people who work in the emergency department. 

It can be used to prepare for: 

  • ABEM written boards examination
  • Annual inservice examination
  • ABEM ConCert Exam

The book has full-color illustrations with tables and images. It also has practice questions for each chapter to help you remember the information you just read. The layout and format make it easy to read and find information. 

 Pros: 

  • Highly detailed and written by emergency medicine experts
  • Excellent for academic and reference purposes 

Cons: 

  • Some of the concepts can seem advanced to people who are not practicing medicine
  • Price: High (unless you have Kindle Unlimited, then it’s free.) 

10. Pediatric Emergency Medicine 

Pediatric Emergency Medicine is a textbook by Fleisher & Ludwig and is full of extensive information regarding diagnosing and treating illnesses and injuries in children. It’s a well written academic resource with sections about:

  • Resuscitation
  • Diagnosing signs and symptoms
  • Clinical pathways
  • Procedures

This book is on the list because it’s ideal to have a pediatric emergency medicine book alongside any other emergency medicine manual, especially if you’re a medical student or work in the emergency department. This way, you can be better prepared for medical emergencies that involve children.  

Pros: 

  • Highly detailed and written by emergency medicine experts
  • Excellent for academic purposes

Cons: 

  • Can be considered lengthy
  • Price: High

If you want something cheaper and easier to carry on the go— try the Tarascon Pediatric Emergency Pocketbook.Opens in a new tab. It has detailed guidelines that cover multiple topics to help diagnose and manage children’s injuries and illnesses. 

What Else Can You Do? 

Books are excellent tools to have on hand for medical emergencies, but it’s also a good idea to find additional ways to prepare for medical emergency situations. Even if you are not practicing medicine, you can still learn new life-saving techniques. 

Medical Emergency Classes

There are how-to classes you can take to learn about emergency medicine and first aid. Here are some topics they may cover: 

  • CPR 
  • Basic first aid 
  • Cardiac arrest/other medical conditions
  • Heimlich Maneuver
  • Drowning/ Resuscitation  

You can usually sign up for these classes through community centers or your local hospital. You can contact them online or call for more information. 

Some classes may be offered as an online course through the Red Cross or a similar resource. The online coursework can be combined with in-person training where you’ll learn techniques from an experienced instructor.  

After completing these classes you’ll have newfound knowledge and a certificate to show for it. These certificates can come in handy when you’re applying for jobs.

For example, babysitters that are certified in first aid and CPR are more likely to be hired than those who aren’t. (And you could always bring an emergency medicine pocketbook with you to work, in case you may need it.) 

Medical Apps

Thanks to innovative technology, apps for smartphones and tablets can help provide information and step-by-step instructions for medical emergencies. Each year, new apps are released with updated information. 

Some of these apps have helpful features, like questionnaires and algorithms, to help narrow down the diagnosis process. Or, you can use the search option to find information about a specific condition and how to treat it. 

Keep in mind that the medical apps work best if you have access to wifi. If you’re isolated somewhere in the wild, it may be difficult to access the apps– unless they can be used offline. In these situations, it would be best to bring along a book (just in case).

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