A list that could save your life | TheUnion.com

A list that could save your life

Valerie Costa
Special to The Union

Closeup of prescription bottle with pharmacist in background.

What if there was one simple thing you could do that could make a trip to the doctor or even the ER quicker and easier; a trick that could potentially save your life? As it turns out, there is. Dignity Health Sierra Nevada Memorial Hospital offers their patients a simple form called a Personal Medication Record, and filling it out and keeping it current is a critical, and easy, way to manage your health.

Keeping copies in your purse, wallet, car, and home is a good idea, as well

Doctor's portals will have a list of your medications, but they're often not up to date. This can cause a delay in the ER, which could be critical time for a patient.

"20 percent of problems in the ER are caused by this information not being readily available and people not following a regimented medication schedule.

"It happens every single day at the hospital," said Dusty Rigdon, SNMH Community Advisory Panel member. "Having a current Personal Medication Record in your wallet or purse can assist the ER doctors to help treat you properly and more quickly. Don't forget to bring it when you travel, especially out of the country. That way, even if you're unconscious, they will have the information they need to treat you."

In order to ensure that you are taking all of your medications properly, Rigdon also suggests that you go one step further and create a personal chart for all of your prescriptions in Excel or Word. He recommends making columns of what meds you take and how much is needed, and then marking what time each day they are taken. Then, you have a current record of your medications that you can use in the ER or at your doctor appointment, and you won't lose track of which of your medications you have or have not taken.

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"People forget to take a certain medication, or forget that they have already taken it and double their dose, which could lead to serious problems," Rigdon said. "Making the chart and keeping it up to date is so easy. I've done it for myself, my wife, my family, even my dog. Anyone can do this."

Talk to your doctor about completing an updated list of medications at your next visit.

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