Scarsdale Volunteer Ambulance Corps to Pilot Program in which Key Medical Info Can Save Lives
White Plains, NY (October 2011) - Emergency Room nurse Sue Cannock, has seen it countless times: an ambulance arrives with a patient in distress who cannot communicate his medical history, which medications he took that day or even an emergency contact number. The ED staff evaluates and treats the patient with the knowledge available, but sometimes critical information that could influence the course of treatment is unknown.
Cannock, who has worked in the White Plains Hospital ED for the last 15 years, thinks she has found a solution to this problem, modeled on a program she learned of while speaking with one of her online classmates who works in a Florida hospital. The solution will be called “The File of Life” and will be launched October 1 as a pilot program run in conjunction with Scarsdale Volunteer Ambulance Corps.
The File of Life itself is a magnet with a small, plastic pocket that can be stuck onto one’s refrigerator. In the pocket there is a form where participating members can fill out medication and allergy information, emergency contact numbers and more. A small sticker with the EMS Star of Life will be placed above the doorknob on a participant’s front door, indicating to the Volunteer Corps that the File of Life is on the refrigerator. Should an emergency occur, ambulance personnel will know to find the file and bring it to the hospital. In addition to the window sticker, Scarsdale Volunteer Ambulance Corps will input into its computer system that participants have a File of Life so they will be instantaneously alerted to retrieve the file.
To educate the public about this program, the Scarsdale Volunteer Ambulance Corps is sending a mailing to 6,500 homes throughout the village. As people respond, members of the Corps will deliver the File of Life to homes personally and even assist residents in filling out the requested information.
“We believe that this will help us serve the community better,” said David Raizen, President of the Scarsdale Volunteer Ambulance Corps. “Having a patient’s medical information immediately accessible to us will expedite treatment in the ambulance and at the hospital. We are pleased to partner with White Plains Hospital and hope that if we are successful, other community ambulance agencies and hospitals will adopt the program.”
“The File of Life should help us treat patients appropriately and quickly,” said Cannock. “We believe that this pilot program will show that with more information comes better medical results. We hope to collaborate with EMS agencies in other towns and make this a Westchester-wide program.”
For more information about “File of Life” please contact (914) 722-2288.