Source: Grosse Pointe News Online

How important is it really?

by Carolyn Van Dorn

September 05, 2013

Q. Why do I need my medical information written out?

A. We live in a world where everything is in the palm of our hands or loaded on a computer. To those who choose to do it the “old fashioned way,” we still jot it down.

In an immediate emergency situation, responders need to know what measures to take and if there are pre-existing medical issues. In most cases, they will not be in a position to search through files on your computer or phone.

It is extremely important for us to have our health information documented. I asked a friend if he had any medical information written down should something happen and he were alone.

“Yes. I wrote it down.” Adding his son knows where the information is but not his wife.

“She doesn’t want to be bothered and why would she, her health is fine right now, she just takes a lot of vitamins,” he said.

Here are two people equally as important, yet only one made the attempt to do it. Sometimes it’s the type of work we do that makes us understand the need, or an incident we experience that makes us realize just how important it is.

I dropped in to see my mother because I could not reach her by phone. When I got there, she was having a diabetic seizure. When EMS arrived I was asked medical questions regarding her health. Some I could answer. Some I could not. To reach for a medical information sheet would have helped greatly.

Whether it is a caregiver, a baby sitter, a person on daily meds or an elderly person, the information we know could help save a life.

I asked another friend in the medical field the same question.

“I’m healthy. I don’t drink. I don’t smoke.”

“That’s great,” I said, “but what about allergies, blood type, physician numbers or family contacts?”

“You have a point,” he said. “Maybe I will do one. There are a few drugs I am allergic to.”

The fact remains we do not prepare ourselves for something until it happens.

Make note of things before an emergency arises. Important medical information applies to all of us, now more then ever. Physicians, medical staff and EMS need to start somewhere and by having the information handy and updated regularly gives them what they need to help you.

To print a medical information sheet visit the news and articles tab at

Van Dorn is the human resources manager at Nursing Unlimited in Grosse Pointe. She has worked in the medical field since 1984. Contact her at (313) 642-1122, cvandorn@nursingunlim or nursin

The Family Center serves as the community’s hub for information, resources and referral for both families and professionals. It is a non-profit organization founded to promote a deeper understanding of the role of parents and others in supporting our youth to become competent, caring and responsible community members with the motto “enriching communities through stronger families.”

To volunteer or make a tax-deductible contribution, visit familycenter, call (313) 432-3832.

E-mail questions to or write to: The Family Center, 20090 Morningside Drive, Grosse Pointe Woods, MI 48236.