How Much Medical History Should You Put In Your ICE Contact?
Any information a doctor would need to know about your history, in order to save your life.
When a patient is brought into the emergency room unconscious, aside from obvious injuries, the doctors caring for him basically have no information about their patient. They have no idea what he might be allergic to, what medications he’s taking, or the surgery he had the month before.
THAT is the information that you need to put into your ICE Contact.
Here’s a real life example of why that’s so important.
Elaine was an active seventy-one year old living on her own in Chicago. One day while getting ready to take a bath, she slipped and fell, striking her head and mouth on the side of the tub. Her neighbors realized they hadn’t seen her all day and called the paramedics, who went in and found her, conscious, but unable to speak.
Elaine had previously been a patient at the hospital she was taken to, she had private insurance, Medicare and everything she needed. Or so she thought. Even though she was stable, injuries to her mouth made her unable to speak or swallow, so she was unable to speak for herself. And that’s where things began to go off the rails…
Elaine was my grandma. Despite the fact that the hospital had my mother’s and my contact information for our home in Los Angeles, the hospital neglected to call us. By the time they did, Grandma was in critical condition from a drug interaction caused by a medication that they gave her that interacted with one that they didn’t realize she had been taking. A few hours after the hospital called, she passed away.
We later found that one of the main factors that caused Grandma’s death was the fact that the doctors treating her didn’t have her medical or prescription drug history at their fingertips.
That’s how critical communicating a person’s vital medical information can be.
Your Emergency Medical Information – What To Include In Your ICE Contact
Here’s the quickest way to figure it out…
Close your eyes for a moment & imagine that you’re sitting in the ER with an injury like a broken arm or that you need emergency surgery. The doctor – someone who doesn’t know you or your unique medical needs – walks through the door.
What does this doctor need to know about you? Jot down all of the things that just went through your mind. Old injuries, allergies, surgeries, anything you think is important.
Are there any other factors that might impact your care? Are you on a special diet? Do you take supplements or anything else that a doctor might need to know to give you the best care possible?
This is also a great exercise to do when setting up your family’s ICE Contacts or filling out their medical history forms. Just imagine them, one by one in the ER and write down everything you would need to tell a doctor about their medical background.
Having all of this information in your and their ICE Contacts is not only a great way to communicate your medical needs if you’re unable to speak for yourself. It’s also a great memory jogger to use when visiting a new doctor, or sitting in the ER with your spouse or your children.
There’s nothing worse than having something on the tip of your tongue and not being able to remember it –except when the word you’re trying to remember is the name of a medication that the emergency room physician needs to save your daughter’s life!
So take a moment to run through this exercise for every member of your immediate family. That way you’ll be sure to have an ICE Contact that does more than give a hospital your emergency numbers. It might just give them the information they need to save your life. Or the life of someone you love.
While you’re here, stop by our post on How To Create a Medical History, to download our free medical history forms and find out ways to include your entire medical history right inside your ICE Contact.
Want to learn how to create an awesome ICE Contact?
Check out our other posts How To Put An ICE Contact On Your iPhone, or How To ICE Your Samsung Galaxy to learn everything you need to know about ICEing your phone. And don’t forget to put ICE Contacts on your spouse’s and kid’s phones too, along with each other’s contact information.
Have Fun Getting Your Stuff Together! We’ll talk later…
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