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What to know when heading to the ER...

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Wednesday, June 22, 2011

What to know when heading to the ER...

There are so many people that come to the hospital daily for emergency treatment,  without insurance for primary care treatment, or just without a primary HCP, so they go to the Emergency Room for treatment.  Now, I am not going to hop on a soapbox about getting treatment in the ER versus primary treatment; I want to give you information regarding what you should know and think about before you go to a hospital, or bring a loved one to the hospital for treatment.

Medication Lists:
This is CRUCIAL!  It is so important for you to have written down, or typed out, all of the medications that you take. Now, on this list, you need to have medications, doses, frequency with which you take them, and when you normally take them.  That helps us in two major ways: knowing what you have last taken (maybe you are having a reaction) and it gives us insight into what we should treat you with and when you require your next dose.  It also might help us figure out what NOT to give you.

It is important to remember to add ALL medications, including medications that you may not take every day (like a rescue inhaler, for example), over the counter medications, and herbal supplements/vitamins. Some herbal supplements may cause reactions with prescribed medications, and in the case (which we hope doesn't happen) that you are unable to speak for some reason, we can ascertain some of your past medical history based upon your medical treatments.


Thoughts on Treatment:
We like to know, in the case that someone doesn't have advanced directives or a power of attorney designated, what they would and would NOT like performed when they come into the hospital.  If, again, you become unable to speak, we need to have a way of knowing what you would like us to do (based on religious or personal preferences): insert a breathing tube and place you on a ventilator if you are unable to breathe on your own? Place large IV's in your chest and into your heart?  Chest tubes to drain fluids?  We will perform every available treatment to save your life, should you become increasingly ill, but is that something you want?

It is food for thought, and something that everyone should think about and talk to your family (parents, children, siblings, significant others) so that they know what you want done, should you become very ill. Also, give someone close to you a copy of your medication list, or let them know where it is, in case there is an accident and you are unable to obtain it yourself.


I know it is a bit of a morbid topic, but you really need to think about these things, and taking 10 minutes to write down your medications can save you from a possible serious interaction, and allow us to treat you appropriately. And talk to your family about what you want and need for treatment...it will help us help YOU!

Yours in Good Health
B

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