By Robin Bush
Are you prepared for possibly having a medical emergency? How would emergency personnel know how best to treat you if you cannot speak or remember the details? The Vial of Life is an easy answer and the best way to notify first responders of your critical medical information in the event of an emergency.
It’s easy. First, you fill out a short form with your health and medications information, place it in your refrigerator either in a plastic vial on an inside door shelf or place your information into a zip plastic bag and tape it to the front of your refrigerator. Then place a Vial of Life decal on the outside of your refrigerator and one on your front door at eye level to let emergency responders know where your medical information is located.
You can find the medical information form online by going to www.vialoflife.com, scrolling down, and clicking “Print form.” This form includes a space for your name and address, phone, date of birth, blood type, identifying marks, current medical conditions, past medical conditions, medications dosage and frequency, allergies to medicines, your doctor’s names and phone numbers, last hospitalizations, special instructions such as health directors, insurance, emergency contacts and if there are pets in the home. You can also include instructions on where you keep your living will, any Do Not Resuscitate instructions, and Healthcare Power of Attorney. Your doctor can help complete the form and ensure the information emergency personnel might need about you is included.
You can pick up the vials, decals, and form at the Center in Oak Harbor or Island Senior Resources (Bayview). Or, you can order a kit of two decals and two medical information forms from www.vialoflife.com for $5. You can also create a homemade version by printing the form from that website and making your own signs with a large red cross and the words “Vial of Life – See refrigerator door for medical information” and put that on your door and on your refrigerator. It is critical that you keep the information in of your vial of life current so EMS can properly treat you!
The Vial of Life program on Whidbey is supported by the WhidbeyHealth Medical Center Foundation.