Thursday, March 28, 2013

Saving Time Can Save Your Heart Life

For about fifteen years, I was a volunteer firefighter and EMT.  When we responded to a medical call, it was not unusual for us to transport the patient to the appropriate hospital for further care.  This could be for a variety of causes, but many of these calls were for an apparent heart attack.

One of the things that we always did, if time permitted and we were at the patient's home, was to gather the medications that the patient was currently taking and take them with the patient so that the emergency doctors would have a more complete picture.  Some patients had these ready for us; for some others, we never found what they had taken that day.

There is a system which we now often see called "Vial of Life".  This consists of a magnetic sticker to place on your fridge and instructions to have you prepare a list of your meds and place that list in your fridge.  The EMTs know to look on your fridge, and if there is a sticker there, to look in your fridge.

You can use this or a similar system yourself and make it even better.  Here's how to do that:

1.    Take one of your empty pill bottles and put one pill, from that prescription, in that bottle.
2.    Do the same for all of your medications.
3.    Put all of the pill bottles, with at least one pill in each in a ZipLock Bag.
4.    Put your medication schedule in the same Bag.
5.    Put that Bag in a place where the EMTs can quickly find it. Your fridge is a good, common place that they can find quickly.
6.    Put a sticker on the outside of your fridge telling the EMTs that your meds are in the fridge.

It is so important for you, when you get taken to the emergency room (with your next heart attack), that they quickly know as much about you as they can.  This includes your medications. With this bag of your meds (and other information), it will dramatically reduce the time for them to know what to do to save your life.

The other thing you should add is the reference to your Road ID ( ).  

See our previous post for more information on the Road ID.

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