This One Piece of Paper in Your Pocket Can Save Your Life

by - October 15, 2020

  1. What medication are your parents/spouse on? 
  2. What is the dosage? 
  3. What are their allergies? 
  4. What is their medical and surgical history?

How well do you know it? More importantly, how well do the rest of your family members know it?

Imagine a situation where - God forbid - they are found unconscious and brought to the hospital. It could be following a heart attack, an episode of low blood sugar or following an accident. How would the treating doctor know what medication they are on and what medications they may have taken? What drugs to avoid? 

This is why I have always advocated writing a note with the necessary details and keeping it in your purse or wallet. 


This One Piece of Paper in Your Pocket Can Save Your Life



More than all the yellow and pink Gandhi currency notes, more than your Aadhar or PAN card, this one piece of paper can make the difference between life and death. 

Take it from someone who has had to operate on an 'unconscious person with no bystanders or history' on multiple occasions. Someone who has had to constantly pray during surgery that the medicines he gives do not interact with the unknown medication the person may be taking. Take it from someone who has had to hear innumerable stories about precious time wasted in trying to determine who the patient was and whom to contact when they are brought injured after an accident.

I have actually written about this topic 4 years ago. One of my 25 published short stories in fact specifically deals with this topic, offering this 'note in the pocket' as a solution. 

Have A Safe Journey is the first anthology in the world that deals exclusively with the topic of road safety. It features popular authors Anand Neelkantan, Ashwin Sanghi, Kiran Manral

That book was 'Have A Safe Journey (Amaryllis)' - The World's first anthology on Road Safety.


Now, during the COVID19 pandemic that has firmly taken over the world, this note is more essential than ever. 

While the country's focus vis-à-vis healthcare remains on the deadly virus, other diseases have had to take a backseat due to deficiency of everything medical - be it doctors, hospitals, ICU beds or just beds itself - a constant bane of India. Even the public is scared to come when they are ill, fearing contracting COVID19 from the hospital after going for a routine checkup. 

This delay in treatment is resulting in more severe complications when the disease does strike - acute breathlessness, massive heart attacks and sudden onset strokes. When they are brought to the hospital, they are in no condition to tell us their medical history.

As A) the blood relative or B) the kind stranger who brought him to the hospital, do you know his history? His exact medication? Whom to contact if you don't know him personally?


This One Piece of Paper in Your Pocket Can Save Your Life
Here is the format I recommend.
(P.S. I forgot to add 'BLOOD GROUP'. Kindly do so)



That is why, I implore you, to please fill this form on a random piece of paper and keep it safely in your pocket right now. Make similar pieces of paper for each family member and keep it in their wallets and purses. Nobody wishes tragedy upon their loved ones. But when tragedy does come unexpectedly, it is important we do our best to save the person. 

The first step starts not in the hospital but right now at home and involves just
1) 1 piece of paper
2) 1 pen
3) 10 minutes of your time.



I personally also recommend adding numbers under the name/prefix ICE (In Case of Emergency) on the phones of your loved ones. I know it is not a popular format in India yet but should someone check during an emergency and find it, it would be helpful and save valuable time.

This One Piece of Paper in Your Pocket Can Save Your Life
You can PIN this image to save this article. Conversely, you can pin the form itself.



Author's Note:

I'm taking my blog to the next level with Blogchatter's #MyFriendAlexa

  

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23 comments

  1. This is super easy. I am going to implement this for myself as well as all family members.

    - Ujjwal Mishra MywordsMywisdom

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  2. Such an useful advice and so relevant, I will add it to my pocket

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  3. OMG can't even imagine such a scenario. Thank you so much doctor for this advice. Going to this for all my family members. Thanks again.

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  4. The title of the post piqued my interest. It's a very sensible advice, Doctor Roshan. I remember I had read it somewhere but never followed, I shall surely do this now. Thanks for the reminder.

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  5. Even as a common person, I have always been of this action that everyone needs to take, irrespective of their medical history. Mishaps & emergencies can happen to anyone & in such situations, knowing these details becomes essential to medical professionals attending to the person.

    You've put this up in a very convincing tone, doc! And this is going to be one of the most useful things I'm forwarding in my family WhatsApp groups now.

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  6. This is a super useful tip. Forwarding this to my contacts.

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  7. Such an important thing to do, I will definitely start practicing the same in my family.. loved reading your post.

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  8. What common sense and so practical and easy to do- I am doing it right away and also sending it to my parents to do the same. I am amazed by the fact there is an collection of stories on road safety - will check this one out.

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  9. This is incredibly helpful doc!

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  10. This is a very helpful tip and I think it should be implemented right from school. Kids are taught about safety, but we forget this important detail

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  11. Simple, but the effectiveness hits home when you describe a real situation where a doctor struggles. I know ICE is not popular in india, but iphones have an option to save "medical emergency" contact details which can be accessed even from a locked screen. This is one thing that should be utilised by all iphone users.

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  12. This is such a helpful post. It's definitely something that can save lives. I am forwarding this to my family and friends.

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  13. Such a small act but can change a lot during an emergency situation. Hands-on experience has made your good self aware that small things can make a large difference.

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  14. What you have said is true. A piece of paper with all ur details can be so much life saving n beneficial to u the most.

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  15. This is such a useful advice. Basic medical history of conditions like diabetes or hypertension, history of drugs like aspirin or sedatives can be game changers in management of critical patients in emergency ward.

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  16. excellent advice. i believe abroad you are required to carry self identification documents upon your person and that includes medical information. alas, in india, this is not a mandate and indeed, carrying this piece of paper could be a live saver and save the docs ton of time and anxiety when treating.

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  17. This is one advice which I will start following right now. Being prepared for emergency is always a good idea.

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  18. Doc, you are so correct. This is something we all should follow.No one knows when emergency comes, however this much of detail can save one's life and can provide attending doctor much needed information.

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  19. Such a simple thing to do - but literally a life-saver!

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  20. This is so essential. Thank you.

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  21. I am so happy to share this that my mom is practicing this habit years back, also keep telling us to follow the pattern forever. indeed a small piece of paper in the pocket can save time and lives both.

    Archana Srivastava
    archusblog

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  22. Now that i read this post I'm wondering why it isn't made mandatory for all!! Such an important life or death document.
    Glad you highlighted this aspect. Will be sharing this to spread awareness and need to do this.

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  23. This is quite brilliant actually, especially when you're travelling or living alone.

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Let me know what you think.