Official Interview: William W. Forgey, MD

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Official Interview: William W. Forgey, MD

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Today's Chat with Sarah features William W. Forgey, MD author of The Prepper's Medical Handbook among numerous other books.

To view the official review, click here.

To view the book on Amazon, click here.


1. What hobbies do you enjoy?

My favorite hobbies in order of participation from my younger days to the present were: cave exploring, then bicycle racing, then canoeing - long distance and long time-frame wilderness expeditions, and international travel - often related to my medical service missions. I have worked in Haiti on over 40 such projects.

2. When and why did you decide to go into medical care?

I had a very long period of service in Vietnam (Aug 66 through end of Dec 1968). It was during that time that I decided I was going to medical school. I gave up a chance to go professional Army and after discharge in July 1969 embarked upon my civilian medical training, returning to Indiana University where I had obtained my undergraduate degree in Chemistry before entering the Army and becoming an infantryman.

3. You've written the book The Prepper's Medical Handbook. Can you briefly tell us your qualifications?

I was an Emergency Department physician for 5 years after graduating from the Indiana University School of Medicine, but by then I had been made a Fellow of the Explorers Club in New York City for the expeditions I had organized prior to that time. In 1979 my book, Wilderness Medicine, was first published (the 7th edition was published by Falcon in 2017). I have worked on developing medical protocols for remote area and austere environments -- that is medical care in low resource situations. I have written over 20 books specifically for wilderness medical issues.

4. What made you decide to write such a book?

I felt my experience providing medical training for remote area expeditions and in medical resource poor areas was very applicable to the situation that arises during such diverse calamities as hurricanes and Covid shutdowns.

5. What audience do you see the book being useful for?

Citizens have learned many times that severe storms can isolate them from food supplies, electricity, water -- even medical care. They face problems in figuring out how, with a limited budget, they can stock and use appropriate items for these emergencies. Medical care is one of the most complex and important issues.

6. This isn't your only book. What other books have you written and which was your favorite?

My first book Wilderness Medicine (now in its 7th edition) was my most important to date, but my favorite was Classical Campfire Stories, also published by Falcon in 2017. I had been a scout master for many years, and this is a compilation of the stories the kids and I shared on numerous camp-outs.

7. As an actual doctor, what's the most rewarding part of practicing medicine?

The most rewarding part of practicing as a family doctor is that you really do become a member of numerous families, sharing hardship and joy. This may sound trite, but it is the solid underpinning of not only family medicine, but for anyone working in medical care. The humanity of it all is overwhelming and for having had this experience since 1975, I am truly grateful.

8. What's the most difficult part of medicine?

The most difficult part of medicine is the horrendous amount of paperwork. It really burns out nursing and medical staff. Maddening.

9. What's next for you? Are you working on another book?

And, of course, I am working on anther book. One soon to be published by Rowman and Littlefield is Doctor on Board, specifically directed to the medical issue of coastal and ocean sailing and cruising due out in May 2021. Due out in fall of 2021 is a book to be published by Globe Pequot titled: The Prepper's Guide to Surviving Pandemics, Bioterrorism, and Infectious Disease. And yes, another book is under contract concerning radiation hazards, but that will be a 2023 publication.

I liked to end on a few fun questions.

10. Beach or mountains?

Beach or mountains? Actually wilderness streams, remote northern ones, only accessible by canoe.

11. When you were a child, what did you want to be when you grew up?

My first idea - when I was 3 - was to be a garbage man. I was impressed by the power of the truck. Then, eventually, I saw my first train and wanted to operate one of them. Now I am impressed by much more subtle things and so my passion currently is to be an expert with the stethoscope.

12. What fictional character would you want to meet and why?

My favorite fictional character? Almost anyone created by Hemingway.
Good books, like good friends, are few and chosen; the more select, the more enjoyable.
-Louisa May Alcott
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Post by serenasiew »

Impressive physician-author. Multiple tours in Haiti as a doctor not to mention those he served as an infantryman. No wonder he has such great taste in characters. The uber-masculine soldiers in For Whom the Bell Tolls are cut from the same cloth.
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