Writer's Guide to Government Information

Resources to inject real life detail into your fiction

Archive for the tag “burn injuries”

Textbooks of Military Medicine

Textbooks of Military Medicine – http://www.cs.amedd.army.mil/borden/

Representative questions that can be answered with this resource:

  • How can lack of sleep contribute to a friendly fire incident?
  • How long can the average person go without sleep and still be effective?
  • How can a prosthetic leg be set up to allow someone to bicycle?
  • How do you decontaminate someone exposed to chemical warfare agents?
  • How does the military measure eye trauma?
  • Where can I get detailed information about decompression sickness?


To get to the textbooks, you’ll need to click on one of the Textbooks of Military Medicine links, which will take you to http://www.cs.amedd.army.mil/borden/Portlet.aspx?id=82200b57-a7a4-4160-bb51-4a086dd6ccce.

This page links to the full text of the textbook series in reverse chronological order by publishing date. To help you focus on topics, here is my effort to group them by topic:



Environmental Aspects


Nuclear/Chemical/Biological Warfare

Physical Injury

Preventive Medicine


Each book is presented as a web page with PDF files for chapters and/or sections. If this format is uncomfortable for you, these books ought to be available through your library, at least through interlibrary loan. Some of the books are available for purchase, others are out of print.

Be warned that some of the volumes have disturbing photographs, as one might expect from medical textbooks.

If you are a regular writer of war stories, I would highly recommend keeping all of these volumes bookmarked or buying as many of the physical volumes as possible.


Fatality and Catastrophe Investigation Summaries (OSHA)

Fatality and Catastrophe Investigation Summaries (OSHA) – http://www.osha.gov/pls/imis/accidentsearch.html

Representative questions that can be answered with this resource:

  • What are some ways that hot cooking oil can kill a character?
  • What are some ways that people can get injured or killed in cave-ins?
  • What are some ways that people can be injured or killed in telecom work?


From the website:

Fatality and Catastrophe Investigation Summaries, also known as Accident Investigation Summaries (OSHA 170 form), are developed after OSHA conducts an inspection in response to a fatality or catastrophe. The summaries provide a complete description of the incident, generally including events leading to the incident and causal factors. These summaries can be easily searched by keyword, text in the summary or accident description, event date, and industry (SIC). Information may also be obtained for specific investigation(s), (Insp Nr). Summaries currently available include completed investigations from 1984 through 1 year earlier than today’s date.

Despite the name of the database, this resource also covers injuries. Injuries and fatalities may also be browsed by keyword. Unlike Fatal Facts above, this resource has no sketches.

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