Writer's Guide to Government Information

Resources to inject real life detail into your fiction

Archive for the tag “instruments”

Marine Corps Combat Lifesaver Course Student Handout

Marine Corps Combat Lifesaver Course Student Handout – http://www.tecom.marines.mil/Portals/131/Docs/cls%20student.pdf

Representative questions that can be answered with this resource:

  • How do I treat a sucking chest wound?
  • How can I distinguish arterial hemorrhage from venous hemorrhage?
  • How do I distinguish between second and third degree burns?
  • What criteria do I use to triage casualties?
  • In a combat triage situation, what care should be given to someone triaged as “expectant”?


This 137 page PDF file is divided into the following sections:

  • Tactical Combat Casualty Care/CLS Overview
  • Identify Medical Fundamentals
  • Manage Hemorrhage
  • Maintain Casualty Airway
  • Manage Penetrating Chest Injuries
  • Manage Hemorrhagic Shock
  • Manage Burn Casualties
  • Perform Splinting Techniques
  • Administer Battlefield Medications
  • Perform Casualty Movement
  • Perform Combat Lifesaver Triage
  • Perform Combat Lifesaver Care
  • Glossary
  • Appendix A: Combat Life Saver (CLS) Bag – Illustrated listing of bag contents along with possible uses of each item.
  • Appendix B: Individual First Aid Kit (IFAK) – Illustrated listing of first aid kit contents along with possible uses of each items.

Detailed instructions for treating various injuries are given. In some cases there are also photos of injuries that some people may find disturbing.

Historic medical instruments (NIH History Office)

Historic medical instruments (NIH History Office) – http://history.nih.gov/museum/virtual_instruments.html

Representative questions that can be answered with this resource:

  • What would you use a micrometric gasometer for?
  • What does a refractometer look like?
  • What could a planimeter be used for in medicine?


From the website, “The following exhibit features a cross section of precision instruments from the Intramural (in-house) Research Program at the National Institutes of Health, used between 1945 and 1965.”

If you have a medical story set in the mid 20th century and can’t tell a tensiometer from a colorimeter, this site could be for you.

2011 HHS Supply Service Center Medical Supply Catalog

2011 HHS Supply Service Center Medical Supply Catalog – http://web.archive.org/web/20111015062848/http://sscweb.psc.gov/page.cfm?id=17

Representative questions that can be answered with this resource:

  • What do forceps look like?
  • What’s in a suture removal kit?
  • What’s in a chemotherapy spill kit?


This is a resource for people who know the names of the items they want to describe clearly. This page allows you to download a 23MB, 498 PDF page catalog. No explanation of what items are for as this is a catalog for medical professionals who know what they’re looking at.

The supply listing in this catalog begins on page 32 of the PDF file. You start to see photos on p. 120 for bandages and adhesive pads.
Here are some interesting looking items along with PDF page numbers:

  • BAG, COLOSTOMY/ILEOSTOMY 6515-00-851-0308 2-1/2 in (6.3 cm), karaya seal, sealed pouch, disposable, 30s (Hollister 7165) Page 150
  • FORCEPS, SERREFINE, DIEFFENBACH 6515-00-584-3746 5.7 cm (2-1/4 in), curved, corrosion-resistant steel Page 173
  • Sterile tray contains:
  • 1 needle holder (Webster)
  • 1 scissors, iris, straight
  • 2 forceps (Adson Tissue and Adson Thumb)
  • 15 gauze (5 gauze, 2 in x 2 in, and 10 gauze, 4 in x 4 in)
  • 1 syringe, 10 cc, Luer-Lok
  • 3 needles (18 gage x 1-1/2, 27 gage x 1/2 in, 25 gage x 5/8 in)
  • 2 medicine cups, 2 oz
  • 2 towels, blue-blotting
  • 1 drape, fenestrated
  • 1 CSR wrap

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