Emergency responders are called out to the scene of a bicycle accident involving one adult. Upon arriving on scene, they find a 44 year old female, named Lynn according to her driver’s license, still on the ground near her bicycle. It appears that Lynn may have lost control going around a sharp turn on the rough bicycle trail. Lynn, still wearing her bicycle helmet, lays unresponsive. There is noted deformity to her left femur. Medics see no other obvious injury. There are no signs of head or spinal injury. The medics carefully package Lynn, secure her to the stretcher, and load her into the ambulance. Upon assessing Lynn’s vitals and running an EKG, the medics determine that she is critically hypotensive and borderline hypoglycemic. They promptly begin transport to the hospital. Despite addressing the ABC’s, then treating the hypotension and glucose levels appropriately while en route to the hospital, her vitals improve little and she remains unresponsive. As they pull into the Emergency Room parking lot, the cardiac monitor shows that Lynn’s heart is now struggling and showing periods of dysrhythmia. The medics rush Lynn inside and transfer her care to the doctors and nurses. The medics walk back to their ambulance bewildered and full of questions. The single injury and MOI (mechanism of injury) just did not add up to the clinical presentation. What were they missing? Was there something wrong that they could have treated? What was going on inside of Lynn? Would the ER staff be able to save Lynn’s life?
In EMS, some of the most stressful calls are the ones in which we encounter an incapacitated patient that cannot provide their medical history to emergency crews (i.e. traumas, diabetic emergencies, syncope, adrenal crises, etc). In addition, we encounter many patients who are altered as a result of drug or alcohol abuse. Many of these patients are altered to the level that they can no longer provide dependable, if any, accounts of their medical history.
In some emergency situations, knowing a patient’s medical history, medications, and allergies can make the difference in life-or-death medical decisions. Therefore, for years, emergency responders have encouraged people to wear medical ID bracelets, dog-tags, or to post their pertinent medical information where responders will notice.
I have some good news: Technology now makes it possible for people to have a virtual medical ID on them at all times!
Let’s look at some numbers: The population of the United States is approximately 320 million people. Of those people, about 20%, or 64 million people use an iPhone. According to Apple, of the people who own an iPhone, roughly 82% use the iOS 8 operating system that contains a virtual Medical ID…that’s over 52 million people in the United States that carry a virtual medical ID on them everywhere they go!
But now I have some bad news. The overwhelming majority of those 52 million people do not know that they possess these “medical ID’s”…further more, most emergency responders do not know to look for them.
This life-saving technology is available but it requires that the general public learn to use it and that emergency workers learn to access it. So let’s start learning!!
This article focuses mostly on the technology built into the iPhone; but Android users don’t fret. Although Android does not have a medical ID built into it, there are a few Android apps available that provide the same kind of capabilities. Android users, please search out these virtual medical ID applications and use them.
If your iPhone is running on iOS 8 operating system (the latest as of this writing), then your iPhone has an app labeled, “Health.” This is the app in which you will fill in your pertinent medical history and anything you need to communicate to emergency workers in case of emergency.
Watch this short video on how to use Apple’s “Health” app…
This technology is so simple to use and offers you the freedom to decide what information you want shared with emergency responders. Use the “Medical Notes” section to list your doctors, which hospital you use, where your medications can be found, anything at all that may help responders give you the best care possible. You can even use this section to display your children’s critical medical information.
If after watching the video above, you are still having difficulty using/customizing this “Health” application on your iPhone, please e-mail us here at info@MedicNerd.com and we will be happy to assist you in using this life-saving technology.
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*iPhone, iOS 8, and the Health app are trademarks of Apple Inc., registered in the U.S. and other countries.