If you were involved in a medical emergency, how would the first responders on the scene know your health info or who to contact?
How would they know which medications and over-the-counter drugs you take?
Take some time to write out some important medical information about yourself and keep it with you at all times.
Also, make sure that someone you trust also has a similar medical emergency form on his/her end.
If you were so badly injured that you needed emergency treatment, would attending EMTs, doctors, nurses and other health care professionals know your wishes in advance?
If a blood transfusion was recommended -- or if intubation or resuscitation was the standard procedure -- would you give your consent if you could?
Don't wait for the ambulance to show up to think of these things.
Think of them now while you have your full mental faculties about you.
Make your wishes known in advance.
As good as most health care professionals are, sometimes they make decisions other than what the patient or his/her family would make.
So don't wait until you're flat on your back on a gurney to decide what to do.
Together with your home support team, fill out a medical emergency contact information form with your most basic information.
We've drawn up two "in case of emergency" support files:
both of which can be accessed through our Free Downloads page.
While these are not legal documents, when properly filled out, they can help shorten the amount of time it will take for you to get the attention you need and deserve in a medical emergency.
Some folks will argue that it is best for people to have their contact information and medical history embedded
- in a tag that can be worn externally (such as in bracelet or necklace forms) or
- in an RFID chip that can be implanted under the skin.
While the former may have some merit, we strongly oppose the latter because
- it has been reported that such chips have been found to cause cancer in animals that have received them and
- because we know of no way to shield unwanted RFID scanning of chips implanted in humans.
Furthermore, if your medical information changes, how can you make sure it gets changed in the microchip?
Still, if you have your contact info and medical emergency information written out on paper and with you at all times, you may not require either a wearable ID or a chip.
Money saving tip: Some accidents are so bad that patients are unable to communicate with first responders.
Seconds can count.
Having your contact and health information written out ahead of time can greatly assist you.
Feel free to use the forms we have linked above or create your own.
If your insurance provider has provided you with a card that contains your policy number, you may wish to carry that with you at all times.
There are some forms of identification that you don't need to carry with you at all times.
For example, do American truck drivers really need to carry their Social Security cards with them?
What happens if that falls into the wrong hands?
If you have special medical conditions or allergies, be sure to note those -- as well as any wishes regarding intubation, resuscitation and blood transfusions.
While you may not want to spill the beans regarding your entire medical history, the more info you can provide that can help first responders, the better.
If you are a driver with a cell phone, consider entering one or more "ICE" (In Case of Emergency) contact phone numbers into your device.