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What should I take to the emergency room (ER)?

When going to the emergency room (ER), it is very helpful to bring a typed-out list of your current medications, allergies and your current doctors—both primary doctor and any specialists, along with a list of your medical problems. If everyone brought that kind of list with them to the ER, the jobs of healthcare professionals would be much easier.

Dr. Kathleen Handal, MD
Emergency Medicine Specialist

Here’s a list of items you should take to the emergency room (ER)—but please use common sense and don’t waste time looking for these items in a medical emergency:

  • bucket, if nausea present
  • comfort items, blankets, pillow, teddy bear
  • insurance card
  • photo ID card
  • copy of health history sheet—medical history/medication list
  • minimized copy of recent EKG
  • blood pressure log
  • advance directives, consent to treat minors documents
  • medical device ID cards and/or manuals
  • medication bottles (if pocket med card is not available)
  • contact numbers/cell phone
  • toys or books for child
  • pen and paper to take notes
  • your copy of my Doc’s ER Guide
  • hand sanitizer
  • coins for vending machines
  • tissues

More tips for going to the ER include:

  • Know that ERs can be quite chilly! Last time I was a patient the wall clock showed a temperature of 67 degrees, so bring a sweater or jacket. Yes, you can get a blanket but they are usually in short supply.
  • Leave patient valuables at home whenever possible!
  • If the trip is necessary because of poisoning or overdose, be sure to bring the container for the item ingested, if possible.
  • If a body part is severed, place it in a plastic bag and seal it. Then put the sealed bag in cold water and ice and keep it with the owner!
Doc's ER Survival Guide (DocHandal's Guides)

More About this Book

Doc's ER Survival Guide (DocHandal's Guides)

Few people get through life without at least one trip to the emergency room (ER), either as a patient or support person for a family member or friend. Doc’s ER Survival Guide is designed to help...

Patients should bring identification, medication lists, medical history and a family member's contact information to the emergency room.

For a visit to the emergency room (ER) you will need a list of the patient’s medications and allergies, and the patient’s insurance card and photo ID.

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Important: This content reflects information from various individuals and organizations and may offer alternative or opposing points of view. It should not be used for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. As always, you should consult with your healthcare provider about your specific health needs.