Preparing for Emergencies Can Be a Lifesaver

By Leigh Vinocur, MD FACEP

Posted on | By Leigh Vinocur, MD, FACEP

As an emergency physician, I tell patients you can’t be prepared for every eventuality but you can be ready for the unexpected! A little planning ahead can be a lifesaver – literally! Here are questions and answers to consider to help you prepare for emergencies.

What kind of medical information is important to document and keep up to date?

Make sure you have complete and updated medical information for yourself and family members. Be sure to include a list of any prior medical problems, surgeries, medications or allergies for everyone. Besides keeping copies at your home or office, you can also keep a copy on your smartphone and have it available should you end up in the ER. Anyone with a severe allergy should consider getting a medical bracelet or necklace that identifies his or her allergies.

What are some important numbers or paperwork to have ready?

In your home or programmed on your cell phone, have all the emergency numbers for family members and your physicians, as well as the local poison control number and even your local emergency rooms. Post these numbers near your home phone and make sure your children and any baby sitters know where they are.

If you have to leave town and are leaving your children in the care of others, sign and leave a Consent to Treat Form, giving your children’s temporary caretakers the right to authorize any treatment or surgery for them in the event of an emergency. You can download these forms on the American College of Emergency Physicians’ website.

Article written by Leigh Vinocur, MD, FACEP
Board-certified Emergency Physician, Adjunct Assistant Professor LSU Health-Shreveport