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Carrying Healthcare Documents and Communicating Your Wishes to Emergency Personnel

Posted by Susan A. Katzen | May 20, 2023 | 0 Comments

In the event of a medical emergency, it's crucial to have your healthcare documents readily accessible and ensure that your treatment preferences are known to emergency personnel. Our Newport Beach estate lawyers have put together this article to discuss the benefits of carrying your directives with you and offer tips on effectively communicating your wishes to emergency responders.

The Importance of Carrying Healthcare Documents

Healthcare documents, such as advance directives, living wills, or healthcare powers of attorney, outline your medical treatment preferences and designate a person to make decisions on your behalf if you become unable to do so. Carrying these documents with you can offer several benefits:

  1. Timely access to your medical preferences: In an emergency, medical personnel must act quickly, and having your healthcare documents on hand can help ensure that your wishes are known and respected in a timely manner.
  2. Reduced stress for family members: Having your documents readily available can alleviate the burden on your loved ones, who might otherwise have to make difficult decisions on your behalf without knowing your preferences.
  3. Avoidance of unwanted treatments: In the absence of clear instructions, medical professionals may provide treatments that you would have preferred to avoid. Carrying your documents can help prevent this.

Tips for Communicating Your Wishes to Emergency Personnel

  1. Carry a wallet card: Keep a card in your wallet that indicates the existence of your healthcare documents and provides contact information for your healthcare agent. Some organizations, such as the American Bar Association, offer printable wallet cards for this purpose.
  2. Utilize a medical ID bracelet or necklace: Wear a medical ID that clearly states your healthcare preferences or directs emergency personnel to your healthcare documents. Make sure the information is easy to read and understand.
  3. Store documents electronically: Consider using a secure online service to store your healthcare documents and make them accessible to medical personnel in emergencies. Many hospitals have electronic medical record systems that can access these documents if provided with the necessary information.
  4. Notify your emergency contacts: Make sure your emergency contacts are aware of your healthcare documents and preferences. Provide them with copies of your documents and instruct them on how to access your online records if necessary.


Navigating the complexities of healthcare documents and effectively communicating your wishes to emergency personnel is crucial for ensuring that your medical treatment preferences are respected during emergencies. By following the tips outlined in this article, you can increase the likelihood that your wishes will be known and honored, ultimately providing peace of mind for both you and your loved ones.

If you find yourself needing assistance with creating these essential documents, don't hesitate to reach out for professional help. Our Newport Beach estate lawyers are just a phone call away. To schedule a consultation, contact us at 714-374-2244 and be sure to mention this blog post. We're here to help guide you through the process, ensuring that your healthcare preferences are well-documented and respected.

About the Author

Susan A. Katzen

"I firmly believe our clients should be treated the way I would want my own family members to be treated. As a result, not only have I put together a compassionate and highly skilled team of people, but together we have served families from the grandparents down to the grandchildren. My staff and...


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