Don't Leave Without It!
"Medical I.D. card could save life"
Ann Landers — Advice Columnist
Dear Ann: Please tell your readers to keep a brief, current medical history with them at all times. I used to do this, but neglected to keep it updated and suddenly realized it would be of little use in case of an emergency.
Last week, I typed up a list of all my medications, major or minor chronic illnesses I have had, a list of drugs to which I have had adverse reactions, plus the surgeries I’ve had done over the years, including cosmetic procedures. I then took the typed paper to a local copy store where it was reduced to a small but readable size. I had it laminated so it wouldn't disintegrate, and put it with my insurance card in my purse.
Within three days, I was injured in a car accident and found myself in the emergency room. I was so shaken up I could barely remember my name, but I was able to give the hospital personnel that laminated card. What a relief it was to know they had all the information they needed to treat me properly.
Please tell your readers this small precaution could save their lives. And if folks aren't sure what information should be put on the card, they can ask their doctor or pharmacist. — Judy in Evanston, Ill.
"Answers needed in medical emergency"
Abigal Van Buren, Advice Columnist — Dear Abby
Dear Abby: I work in a hospital emergency department in a suburb of Cleveland. Because your column is printed in newspapers across the country and beyond, I thought it would be the best way to get an important message out to the public.
Many patients come to the ER because they're in pain, confused, unresponsive, or have been subject to serious injury. Sometimes patients come to the ER because of what they feel is a minor problem. Then, after testing and examination, we find a more complicated problem that requires hospitalization. Many times finding the cause of the patient's situation can be difficult because of inadequate information.
The three most common areas of misinformation are medications and dosages the patient takes, medication allergies and past medical history. Occasionally no identification can cause a problem. Taking medications like Coumadin, Lanoxin, Dilantin, Depakote, digoxin, theophylline, phenobarbital and others requires blood samples to check the amount of the drug in the bloodstream. These medications, among others, can be responsible for anything from severe bleeding to seizures, severe lethargy, weakness, fatigue, abnormal heart rhythm and blurred vision.
Unfortunately, these can also be symptoms of problems like gastrointestinal bleeding, epilepsy, meningitis, strokes and lethal arrythmias.
The bottom line is: Know your past medical history (i.e., appendix removed, heart attack, high blood pressure, diabetes, etc.). Know what medicines you are allergic to. Know what medications you take and the dosages.
but not least, write your name, medical history, drug allergies,
medications and dosages on two pieces of paper. Put one in your wallet or
purse, and one on your refrigerator, kitchen counter or bathroom medicine
cabinet. This way, you will have them with you—or someplace a paramedic
can find them—in the worst situation. It’s for your
Dear Rick: Thank you for the potentially lifesaving reminder. For most of us, making such a list will take only a few minutes. Readers, do it now—don't procrastinate!
MAYO CLINIC HEALTH LETTER
Medical information in an emergency
Do you have important medical information handy in case of an emergency?
Record the following information for each family member. Keep it in a convenient location, and update it regularly.
• Illnesses and prior
surgeries: List any chronic or severe illness and any surgeries
and when you had them.
• Your doctor: Include the
name and phone number of your primary care physician and any specialists
involved in your care.
THE LONDON FREE PRESS, CANADA
Don't Leave Without It!
People don't keep relevant medical information handy, so when faced with an emergency, they’re often scrambling to remember important details that might affect treatment.
The Mayo Clinic Health Letter advises
consumers to keep the following information in your wallet or
A list of any chronic or severe illness and
surgeries and when you had them.
ST. PETERSBURG TIMES, FLORIDA
"Give College Kids Health Care Lesson"
"As your teenagers move away to school, make
sure they know their medical background and how to find care when they
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