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During an emergency, there is little time to think of all the things you need or want to do.  It is also not the time for the "I should have's" - there will be plenty of time later. 

During an emergency, the only thing you should do is get help as quickly as possible, and care for the injured or ill.   The following are some simple yet often forgotten or overlooked items that can be very critical. 

There are many others, if you would like to share your favorite, click here to pass it on to us. 

TOPICS

bulletBefore You Have An Emergency
bulletWhere are You?
bulletPatient History
bullet"DO NOT RESUSCITATE (DNR)" Orders
 

 

 

 

Before You Have An Emergency

Where Are You?

If you have a mailbox or house number post on the street, put your box number (and letter if applicable) on both sides.    It should be large enough to be easily seen as the ambulance  approaches from either direction.

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Patient History

Keep a current "patient history" for each family member.  Include information on prescriptions, allergies, medications to which each may be allergic, important past medical history (diabetes, heart disease), doctors' names and phone numbers and emergency contact numbers.   Keep it in a place you, your family and the baby-sitter, will have immediate access to and remember (on/in the fridge?).

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"DO NOT RESUSCITATE (DNR)" Orders

Now available and recognized in most areas, the DNR, by this or other name, simply put, states the patient's decision (with the Doctors concurrence) NOT to have resuscitative efforts (CPR) performed in the case of a cardiac or respiratory arrest.   This is NOT a living will. Now available and recognized in most areas, the DNR, by this or other name, simply put, states the patient's decision (with the Doctors concurrence) NOT to have resuscitative efforts (CPR) performed in the case of a cardiac or respiratory arrest.   This is NOT a living will. . Now available and recognized in most areas, the DNR, by this or other name, simply put, states the patient's decision (with the Doctors concurrence) NOT to have resuscitative efforts (CPR) performed in the case of a cardiac or respiratory arrest.   This is NOT a living will.

If you or a loved one has a terminal illness, and with the doctor's agreement, do not want emergency resuscitative attempts (CPR) made, you must have a "Do Not Resuscitate" (DNR) order.  It MUST be on a form as approved by your locality, be clearly stated, and be properly signed.   It must include specific instructions to Emergency Response personnel.   We are required by law to provide all appropriate treatment to a patient unless such a document can be produced.  Providing us a copy before the emergency and having one available on our arrival prevents confusion at a very painful time. 

This order does not mean that no care will be provided - illness, injury, pain, difficulty breathing will be treated as always.   However, if the patient suffers cardiac arrest, CPR will not be performed.

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Wear Your Seat Belts

Wear your seat belts, and make sure your children do also - they can save your life, and theirs.  You may still be injured if you wear one, but odds are you will stay in  the car and be able to walk away.   If you don't wear one and are thrown out during an accident, you may NEVER walk.

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Living Wills and  DNRs - NOT THE SAME

A Living Will is generally prepared by an individual when healthy to convey his health  care wishes if in the future he becomes incapacitated.  It is usually invoked in a hospital setting, and generally requires the concurrence of a stated number of doctors regarding the patient’s condition and agreement that the Living Will’s requirements have been met.  A living will is typically not of use at an emergency scene.

Remember - we are not attorneys, and cannot take the time to read and understand a lengthy legal document while a patient is in distress.  We are expected to immediately offer medical assistance if there is any doubt as to the patient’s wishes.  We will always act on the side of patient treatment

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