Have you every found yourself in a medical emergency? We never had – until the other day. Sure, we’ve had our children get sick and rushed them to the doctor. We’ve endured our fair shares of bumps and bruises; babies rolling off of changing tables, little ones falling off monkey bars, 108 degree fevers and the raisin choking incident of 2006. But then, a couple weeks ago, I found myself in an emergency situation. And I was at a loss.
It was just like any other Thursday morning except my 8-year-old awoke with a fever and complaining of malaise. I took her temperature and sure enough, she had a low-grade fever. We headed downstairs, and as I was collecting the ibuprofen, she screamed out that she couldn’t see and then collapsed. She was completely unresponsive.
She came to in a matter of seconds (which seemed like an eternity), and I knew I needed to get her to a doctor – fast. It was then I realized I had no idea where the nearest hospital was located. My brother ended up taking us to the hospital and my daughter was luckily fine. Yet the experience drove home the lesson that my family needed to prepare for a medical emergency in order not to waste what could be precious minutes.
Here’s what you can do to prepare your family for a medical emergency. Hopefully, you will never have to use them.
1) Know where the nearest hospital is located: Believe me, you don’t want to be right smack dab in the middle of crisis mode only to realize that you have no idea where you need to go. You need to familiarize yourself with where the hospital is and the quickest route to get there.
2) Keep insurance paperwork on you at all times: Make sure that you and your spouse each have an insurance card and make copies for your children to keep in their backpacks along with emergency phone numbers and a brief medical history.
3) Keep your family’s medical history on you: Take the time either write down on paper or in your smartphone a list outlining each family member’s medical history, including the names and dosage of any prescription medication. You should also list the name, age, birthday, social security number, allergies, previous hospitalizations and medical problems. It is also a good idea to list vitamins and any herbal supplements that are taken.
4) Teach the kids 911: Kids can help save a life by knowing how to dial 911. Make it a rule that everyone in the house calls 911 in an emergency. I probably should have dialed 911 last Thursday, but my mind was blank and that is dangerous.
5) Know basic first aid and CPR: Someone in the house should be CPR certified. CPR will teach you how to help someone that is choking or not breathing.
6) Know how your local ambulance service works: Know which hospital the ambulance will take you to so family knows where to find you and to tell your physician where you’re being taken.
7) Be as specific as possible when describing your symptoms: When you are in the emergency room, answer medical questions as specifically as possible. The key to a quick and accurate diagnosis is detailed description of symptoms. The more specific you are, the faster the doctor can find the appropriate treatment.
By preparing for a medical emergency, you may just save someone’s life.