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Thursday, July 1, 2010

How Being Medically Organized Could Save Your Life

Great broadcast by Chasity Mayes at KSMU radio station - here's the transcript:

It’s one of the easiest life saving measures you can take for you and your family, but very few people take the time to do it. KSMU’s Chasity Mayes tells us how organizing your family’s medical information could mean the difference between life and death in an emergency situation.

"A recent survey conducted by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services found that 96 percent of Americans believe that knowing their family history is important. Yet, the same survey found that only one-third of Americans have ever tried to document their family's medical history.

Connie Meier is an infection preventionist at Skaggs Regional Medical Center in Branson. She says there are a couple of reasons why people aren’t getting 'medically organized.'

'Some of it is because in years past that we’ve had one doctor that takes care of all of our medical needs and we think that the doctor should know when we go see the doctor. However, that’s not the case now when we see different specialties as far as doctors. And it’s just a matter of taking the time to sit down and write this information out,' says Meier.

Meier says creating a medical history for your family should include things like past surgeries, illnesses, and current medications for each family member. She says keeping that history with you at all times is especially important.

'If you were in an accident somewhere and have to be taken to the hospital they would want to know that information about you and it would make it easier for the providers at that time,' says Meier.
Meier also added that there are many consequences to not having a family medical history on hand in emergency situations. She says you’re at a much greater risk for receiving medication that you’re allergic to and those reactions can be fatal.

Most medical officials agree that major holidays like the upcoming Fourth of July, can be the perfect time for people to get 'medically organized.' Meier says having medical information at your disposal can keep your children safe.

'If your child would happen to go to visit grandma and grandpa or go on vacation and then get sick we would not have that child’s past history. The child also needs to know your history because on down the line if you’re not around and the child develops problems the doctors really need to know the family history,' says Meier.

The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services says tracing common diseases like heart disease, cancer, and diabetes suffered by your parents, or other blood relatives can help your doctor be proactive in preventing disorders that are common in past generations.
Writing down your family’s medical history is one way of getting organized. Many websites, including that of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services offers an online tool to help you document your family’s medical history."

More on medical organization:

National Preparedness Month - Emergency Kit #7 - Medications and Medical Supplies

Getting Your Affairs in Order

Can Your Loved Ones Find Your Important Documents?