(LONG BEACH, CA; May 29, 2012) – Imagine that you are home alone when you begin experiencing chest pain. You call 9-1-1 and then collapse. Paramedics come to your home but you are unable to give them the information they need about your medical history and your medications. They notice a magnet on your refrigerator that tells them you have a “VIAL of L.I.F.E.” inside the refrigerator. They find the vial and the important information they need.
Beginning May 31st, Long Beach residents will be able to use a “VIAL of L.I.F.E (Lifesaving Information for Emergencies)” thanks to the efforts of Fifth District Councilwoman Gerrie Schipske and her partnership with St. Mary Medical Center, the Long Beach Firefighters Association 'Local 327', Walmart and Seaside Printing.
“The VIAL of L.I.F.E is a nationally recognized program that assists emergency medical workers when responding to and treating individuals during home medical emergencies,” explains Councilwoman Schipske, who is a Registered Nurse Practitioner and a former Emergency Medical Technician (EMT). “It’s free. It’s simple and it works.”
The VIAL of L.I.F.E program will enable Long Beach firefighters and paramedics to have quick access to medical information as they administer critical help to an injured or sick person during a 9-1-1 call. A sticker on the residents’ front door and a magnet on the front of the refrigerator, alerts first responders to look inside the refrigerator for medical information. This information is stored inside a large prescription bottle that is placed on the top shelf of a patient’s refrigerator door. In addition to a completed medical form describing a resident’s personal medical history and medications, the vial can contain other essential information such as copy of identification. Schipske points out that the refrigerator is used because it is centrally located and common in all homes.
“In an emergency, every second counts,” says Councilwoman Schipske. “Putting this important information in the hands of the paramedics when they respond to an emergency can mean the difference between life and death.”
The VIAL of L.I.F.E will be introduced to the City of Long Beach during the Senior Safety Fair at the St. Mary Medical Center on Thursday, May 31st from 10:00 am to 2:00 pm, located at 1055 Linden Avenue, Long Beach CA 90813. A booth will be set up at the John Parr Health Enhancement Center to provide easy, practical information on how to use the VIAL of L.I.F.E.
“St. Mary Medical Center decided to help launch VIAL of L.I.F.E. with me after their CEO, Tom Salerno, went on a paramedic ride-along and saw first-hand the need for such a program,” says Schipske. “St. Mary Medical Center is adding the Vial of L.I.F.E. initiative to their Emergency Preparedness program for senior residents in Long Beach. I am excited to have St. Mary Medical Center team up with us on this important program.” Schipske notes that the medical information form used for VIAL of L.I.F.E. was reviewed by the St. Mary Medical Center Emergency Room Director, Dr. Stephen Shea.
Schipske adds that several other organizations are stepping forward to help launch VIAL of L.I.F.E. for Long Beach, including: Walmart, which has provided 1,000 large pill vials (bottles); the Long Beach Firefighters Association ‘Local 372’ which is paying for a portion of the costs of printing labels and magnets; and Seaside Printing which is providing printing services.
VIAL of L.I.F.E. kits include: a large pill vial, instruction sheet, medical information sheet, refrigerator magnet and a sticker to be placed on front doors.
“VIAL of L.I.F.E. kits will be available at St. Mary Medical Center Senior Services at 1055 Linden Avenue, and the 5th Council District Neighborhood office at 2760 N. Studebaker Rd.
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