Providing Essential Health Information to Emergency Responders By Dr. Reza Berjis
Health care professionals often emphasize the importance of patients providing up-to-date information about their medical conditions. It is vital for providers to know if patients have health conditions such as pharmaceutical allergies, diabetes or cardiac issues that could be impacted by specific medications and treatments. Sometimes people are unable to provide this information when it is needed the most, however. During an emergency situation such as a stroke or heart attack, patients might be unable to relay crucial details about their personal health issues to the providers who must administer treatment.
Fortunately, there are steps people can take to prepare for such situations. August is Medic Alert Awareness Month, aimed at raising awareness of tools people can utilize to convey their personal health information when they are unable to speak to emergency responders. Medical identification tags in particular can play a key role in helping providers save a patient-s life. Emergency responders encourage individuals with unique or significant medical conditions to wear these tags relaying that the person has a medical condition that might need immediate attention or that directly affects their treatment. These identification tags, which can be worn as bracelets, necklace or on clothing, can provide important information for providers in an emergency situation, especially if the patient is incapable of speaking or too young to communicate medical needs.
Medical identification tags are available for purchase at many drug stores and pharmacies, including Wal-Mart and CVS. MedicAlert, a nonprofit dedicated to helping save lives in emergency situations, also sells medical identification tags in the form of a variety of accessories. HealthCare Partners encourages people with important medical conditions to research medical identification tags and consult their providers about the possible benefits of wearing a tag.