Once 911 has been called the clock starts ticking.  When will they arrive?  What’s taking so long?  Believe me responders are doing the best they can to reach you in a safe and sane way.

The question then becomes how can they be assisted during the emergency call so the potential patient can be treated better and faster? One way is proper information about the person being treated.  Does the patient have any style of health information available for responders to reference?  If so, treatment can be faster, better, all along the process from home to hospital.

So, what information should be available? Ideally, the needed information is located in, on or near the refrigerator.  Why the refrigerator?  It’s the one appliance 99.9% of us have in a central location.  Responders are trained to look for anything that may assist in the faster treatment of the patient.  The refrigerator location has been part of a Vial of Life, a national program since sometime before 1980. What should be contained? The more information, the better as it’s up to the person completing the form as to how much to disclose about their personal health information.  Items such as doctors, dentist, medical allergies, blood type, medical conditions, past surgeries, identifying marks,  emergency contacts, etc.

Another aspect to include is medical directives such as DNR (do not resuscitate), health care power of attorney as to who makes decisions when to patient cannot due to illness or unconsciousness.  All vital from the patient standpoint as well as responding personnel.  In speaking with responders it does occasionally happen for a patient to be revived against their wishes due to no DNR available.  EMT’s are trained to save lives.  Check for the legalities in your state concerning these important documents.

Next time we’ll cover what your emergency contacts need to know as well as responsibilities of the emergency contact.