Be Prepared

 

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    No one expects an emergency, but there are things you can do to prepare yourself and your family ahead of time. It may take a few minutes now, but if you ever find yourself in a situation where every second counts, you’ll be glad you put in the work upfront.

    Here’s how the trauma team at Stony Brook says you can better prepare for emergencies.

    1. Know your options ahead of time. Being in the right place at the right time with the right resources and experts can directly affect your outcome. If you are experiencing a serious trauma, paramedics may take you immediately to Stony Brook because we currently offer the highest level of care in Suffolk County. Otherwise they will bring you to the closest hospital with appropriate facilities. However, if you develop complications or are more seriously ill or injured than first thought, you will most likely be transferred to Stony Brook. This gets you to the right place, but you lose valuable time. Know that as a patient, you have the right to request transfer to a trauma center if you are brought to another hospital.

    2. Make a list of your medications, medical history and emergency contacts. This is vital information for the trauma team that can influence your treatment and outcome. Because you may not be in a position to review it upon admission, and family members may be upset, overwhelmed or not fully informed, your best strategy is to write everything down ahead of time. This includes the medications you take and what you are taking them for, dosages, pre-existing or chronic conditions, any implanted medical devices (for example, pacemaker, artificial hip, etc.), a list of your physicians, insurance information, and emergency contact names and numbers. You can do this a number of ways. 

    • Printout. Click here for a downloadable form that you can fill in, print out and carry with you in your wallet. You may also want to give a copy to your emergency contact person. 
    • Cell phone. Take photos of all your medication labels on your cell phone camera and store them. List all your doctors’ names in your directory under Doctors (and add their specialty in the listing). And be sure to designate someone in your phone as ICE (in case of emergency) — emergency personnel know to look for it. If you have a smart phone, you may also want to include a copy of the medication form and other details in an easy-to-find spot. 

    3. If possible, bring important documents with you to the emergency room. This can include photo identification, insurance card, social security number, immunization records (if the patient is a child), a consent to treat form if you are taking care of child that you are not the parent of, and advance directives including a living will, Do Not Resuscitate (DNR) orders, health care proxy and power of attorney forms. If you have an implanted medical device, bring your device ID card and/or a copy of the manual.