If you were asked if you could last a day without a mobile phone, the answer is likely to be: No. According to a study, one in five people couldn’t last a day without their phone. So if most of us have our cell phones by our sides all the time, what would happen if we were in an emergency without anybody but our phone?
When someone is being rushed into the emergency room, every second is precious. The paramedics will assess the patient as quickly and as thoroughly as they can, but if the patient is without their loved ones or unable to communicate, it can be a matter of life or death. Emergency doctor Julia Thompson wrote a Facebook post and shared a simple tip that could potentially save lives.
A Simple App on Your Phone Could Save Your Life
In a Facebook post shared over 163,000 times and rising, Dr. Thompson explained the frustration medical staff feel when they are confronted with a locked phone and why this is such a serious issue.
“Working in a public hospital and seeing patients in ED all the time I see many patients come in and we have had no way of knowing who they are or how to contact their next of kin or their medical history! And their phones are locked!”
However, the kind-hearted doctor’s post was not just a vent, but rather an opportunity to share a very simple and helpful tip that could save time and possibly your life.
Working in a public hospital and seeing patients in ED all the time I see many patients come in and we have had no way…
“But many people don’t realise that you and patients can set up something called a ‘Medical ID’ on your iPhone if you have the health app (free with phone),” she wrote.
“This information can be accessed even while the phone is locked by clicking on the emergency options and can display things like name, DOB, emergency contacts, medical conditions and even blood type and donor status. You can even add notes.”
How to Use the Simple App
The Health app is included free on all Apple’s iPhones. The app icon is a white square with a red heart that looks like the one below.
You can measure your activity, gauge your sleep patterns, keep track of your nutrition data, or practice mindfulness – but there is one hidden feature that is probably the most useful of all: Medical ID.
Dr. Thompson urged all smartphone users to update the Medical ID on their Health app with information that could help medical staff understand your medical conditions and find your family and friends in an emergency situation. All you need to do is to click into the Health app and select “Medical ID” in the bottom right-hand corner.
“It can be managed by clicking on the little “Health” app that comes default on the phone (heart icon and then in the app go to the little star shape with medical ID) and given everyone I have spoken to today has never heard of it it seemed like a social media share kind of moment!” she said.
“But don’t simply share it – update yours also!! ”
Why It’s So Important to Have Medical Information in an Emergency
It’s important to keep certain medical information readily available in case of emergencies. This is because as the patient arrives at the hospital, the variety of medications and procedures available makes it vitally important for the paramedics to know as much as possible about the patient.
The medical information that are necessary for the paramedics to know include:
- Patient’s name
- Medications with dosages (make sure to include over-the-counter medicines and vitamins)
- Medical conditions like diabetes, high blood pressure, congestive heart failure, seizures or other important medical problems and diagnoses
Help for Android Phone Users
Android phones usually do not have built-in health apps that allow you to create a Medical ID. But Android phone users can still create Medical IDs that anyone can see from the lock screen by installing the “Medical ID (Free) In Case of Emergency” app.
This app allows you to create medical profiles that are accessible from the lock screen similar to the iPhone’s Health app.