7 Things You Should Bring along to the Emergency Room
Medical emergencies generally are not planned out events for which you prepare in advance. In fact, you often must be ready to go to the hospital at a moment’s notice. However, you can make these emergencies a bit smoother and less fearful when you realize some of the more important items that you should either have in your wallet or purse to take along to the ER with you.
Even more, you should also let loved ones and friends know about these items in case you cannot speak for yourself or must rely on someone to help you during a medical emergency. While you hope to never have to go to the ER for treatment, you should still know what things to have on hand if or when such a circumstance arises.
- List of Current Medications
When you arrive to the ER and need to receive prompt treatment, your doctor may not have time to figure out what medications could cause you to suffer a deadly reaction. The physician needs to be able to act quickly to save your life. You can make his or her job easier by taking along a list of medications that you currently use with you.
Even if you are unconscious and cannot speak, this list could end up saving your life. You should type out a thorough list of all of your current medications, as well as their dosages, and keep it in your purse or wallet. The paramedics or ER staff can then use it to determine how to treat you best for your medical conditions.
- List of Allergies
Just as you carry a list of your medications, you should also have a list of allergies from which you suffer. Doctors may not have time to order blood tests or other labs to determine this information. They need to know if you can be given antibiotics, aspirin or other lifesaving medications without experiencing a bad reaction.
Likewise, they also need to know if they can wear latex gloves while treating you. A latex allergy could cause you to go into shock and possibly die. If you have a full list of your allergies on you, your doctor and nurses will know how best to treat you.
- Insurance Cards and Co-Pay
When you go to the ER, you inevitably will be asked about your insurance coverage. You should have your insurance card at the ready, as well as any co-payment for which the hospital might charge you.
If you cannot afford to pay the co-payment amount, the ER billing office may be able to send you a bill for it in the mail. You will still have to pay for it, as well as the remaining expenses for your treatment. However, you would not be obligated to do so before you can be admitted or treated.
- Photo Identification
Many hospitals now require that patients provide photo identifications to prevent insurance and billing fraud. When the admissions representative asks for your insurance card and co-payment, you also may be asked to show your ID. You should have your driver’s license, state ID or other proof available.
- Legal Documents
Despite the doctors’ primary focus being on saving your life, they also have to know to what extent you want to receive medical treatment. If you have a durable power of attorney or a consent to treat form, you should take this documentation with you to the ER.
This documentation can make clear whether or not you want to receive treatments like blood transfusions, surgery, life support and other medical services. Without these papers, the doctors must act in your stead and administer treatment if you cannot speak for yourself. This paperwork can also help your family and friends avoid disputes about what treatments you should receive.
- Ingested Poison, Spiders and Other Toxins
If your ER visit stems from being bitten by a spider or animal or ingesting poison, you should make every attempt to take along the very thing that has put your life at risk. If you can, you should tell the paramedics or other people there to help you what toxin you ingested, where it can be found in your house or place of work, or where the spider or animal that bit you came from in your surroundings.
If they cannot find the toxin, paramedics or loved ones can still relay the information to your doctor at the ER. This information can help save your life and allow doctors to give you the appropriate anti-venom or charcoal treatment.
- Emergency Contact Information
If your life is at risk and doctors want someone there with you, you can have your desired loved ones there when you bring along a list of emergency contacts. Just as with your lists of medications and allergies, you should likewise have this list tucked away in your purse or wallet. The medical staff can access it, call the desired people, and make sure that you have someone on hand to look out for your best interests.
An ER visit is rarely something that you anticipate or prepare for days or weeks in advance. Even so, you can make your next visit as smooth as possible by taking along these items with you or having them on hand in your purse, wallet or home.