A Caveat on the Special Forces Medical Manual

The 1982 U.S. Army medical manual for special forces presented in Secrecy News yesterday is dangerously misleading and it should not be used in practice, one expert in military medicine warned.

“That manual (pdf) is a relic of sentimental and historical interest only, advocating treatments that, if used by today’s medics, would result in disciplinary measures,” wrote Dr. Warner Anderson, a U.S. Army Colonel (ret.) and former associate dean of the Special Warfare Medical Group.

“The manual you reference is of great historical importance in illustrating the advances made in SOF medicine in the past 25 years. But it no more reflects current SOF practice than a 25 year-old Merck Manual reflects current Family Practice. In 2007, it is merely a curiosity.”

“Readers who use some of the tips and remedies could potentially cause harm to themselves or their patients.”

“I wish you would inform my fellow Secrecy News readers of these issues, correcting any false impressions,” Dr. Anderson wrote.

A completely revised Special Operations Forces Medical Handbook was published in 2001. A second edition of that Handbook is now in preparation, said Gay Thompson, managing editor of the Handbook.

No Responses to “A Caveat on the Special Forces Medical Manual”

  1. Lewis T. Pace, Jr. July 24, 2007 at 10:56 PM #

    I was wondering if anyone was going to point out the fact that the manual you were holding up was 20 years out of date and superceded by a current — and verrrry GOOD manual — that is accompanied by a CD with over 3,000 links to internet & military sources!

    Back in ’62, when I became an A-Team Medic in the 7th Special Forces Group (ABN), we didn’t have ANY manuals other than standard hospital oriented miscellaneous manuals for first aid, bandaging, etc.

    We sort of “made it up” as we went along.

    I was very impressed with that 1982 manual when I bought one in 1985 just for curiosity as a civilian.

    A friend who was on the editorial board got me a preview copy of the 2001 SOF Medic’s Manual and it nearly blew me away! My cardiologist and general practioner both asked to make photocopies of the manual and copies of the CD when I showed it to them!

    Rangers may “Lead The Way,” but, as usual, they’ll find that Special Forces is already there — set up and waiting for them!

    Lewis T. Pace, Jr.

  2. ABMM July 25, 2007 at 10:34 AM #

    Link to the new (2001) Special Operations Forces Medical Handbook:
    http://www.nh-tems.com/documents/Manuals/SOF_Medical_Handbook.pdf (40 MB PDF file)

  3. Arnoldo Mendoza December 11, 2007 at 12:48 AM #

    Hello Pace. It’s me, your old friend from LFHS. Yes, I’m still here. Talk to you later.

  4. Gerry O'Reilly April 9, 2008 at 2:32 PM #

    Does anybody know when the 2nd edition of the SOF Medical Handbook will be
    available and where I might be able to get the updates to my 1st edition?


    – Gerry

  5. Steven Aftergood April 9, 2008 at 2:58 PM #

    Ms. Thompson of the Army informs me that the new edition of the Handbook will be published by the Government Printing Office in November 2008.

    There were no updates issued for the first edition. However, there is an ENT chapter that is available on the first edition of the CD that was not published in the hardcopy of the Handbook.

  6. EMS September 20, 2009 at 5:16 PM #

    Is there a pdf of the 2nd edition of SOFM handbook ?

  7. EMS December 13, 2009 at 3:03 AM #

    Has a new edition of the SOFM handbook been posted in pdf yet please ? Thank you :)

  8. Steven Aftergood December 13, 2009 at 9:14 AM #

    Sorry, no– not to my knowledge. However, a DVD edition of the handbook is supposed to be published by the Government Printing Office bookstore in February or March 2010.

  9. Venezuela July 27, 2011 at 7:33 AM #

    Did anyone ever get the second edition?