Be prepared to give responders medical history in emergency


Have you ever had to call for an ambulance? Do you recall your state of mind when your spouse was unresponsive in her chair? Did you fear death? What to do next? Could you even remember the numbers 911?  What a challenge!

First responders count on you, the caller, and the person meeting them to provide critical health and medical information.  Are you ready?  Most people are not.

When the EMT crew arrives, they have lots of questions. They usually enter the information into their laptop computers and transmit the information back to the receiving emergency room as they assess the distressed patient and stabilize them for transport.

One senior experienced chest pains at an art event at a museum. She was taken by automobile to the emergency room. Immediately, the spouse was asked questions. Some were easy to answer, but types and dosages of medications were hard to recall. The spouse got in the vehicle and went home to get the prescription and OTC containers from the medicine cabinet.

Make a list of your medical history, medications and dosages, along with the names of the doctors and their telephone numbers. Carry one for yourself, your spouse or other family members that might need your assistance. Check for a printable form that helps you be prepared. Your pharmacy can print a list of your medications for reference.

A “Vial of Life” program has been developed by the Brevard Healthcare Coalition. Theresa Russell, a senior program specialist with the Florida Department of Children and Families, is a valued resource. CVS developed a similar program for its customers several years ago.

A special two-sided form is completed and placed in a container marked for first responders and put on the top shelf of the refrigerator door next to the butter. On the front door of the house and the outside door of the refrigerator is placed a green “Vial of Life” sticker. When first responders arrive, they know you are prepared.

Additionally, use the same completed and updated form to place in your wallet or purse, auto glove compartment, and provide it to close family members. The vial and sticker give first responders and medical staff quick access to your “permitted” information. This can save your life! Accept the challenge! Be your own advocate!