February 14, 2002 11:00 pm
The vials containing medical information are designed to be kept in the refrigerator. (The Observer/PHIL BULLOCK).
The vials containing medical information are designed to be kept in the refrigerator. (The Observer/PHIL BULLOCK).

By Dick Mason

Observer Staff Writer

These medicine bottles contain no pharmaceuticals. Yet in an emergency they are just what the doctor ordered.

Introducing the EMSfile Vial of Life. The vial is an oversized plastic pill bottle that has been saving lives throughout the United States for several years and is now available in Union County.

Each vial has medical information forms that people fill out. The forms reveal medical conditions, the medications taken, the persons blood type and more.

Such information can be critical for first responders treating someone in a medical emergency. Quick access to details about the patient can save valuable time, said Mardene Dowdy of the La Grande Rotary Club, which worked with Grande Ronde Hospital to establish the program.

Star of Life decals that can be placed in highly visible locations are provided with each vial. The decals could be placed on a door or a window to alert emergency personnel that a vial is available inside the door of the refrigerator..

The door is the first place that paramedics will look for the vial, Dowdy said.

People can purchase additional Vials of Life to keep them in golf bags, boats, backpacks, motorcycles, sports bags, office desks and travel cases.

People traveling by air are urged to keep vials in their suitcases and purses. People might have a heart attack brought on by the stress of flying, said George Hext, president of both Aviation Services International and the La Grande Rotary Club.

Corky Gillies, a La Grande Fire Department captain and a paramedic, said the vials will be of great help.

Gillies said sometimes a paramedic cannot detect the patients problem and their doctor or pharmacist has to be called. That might not be necessary if someone has a Vial of Life in their refrigerator, he said.

In addition to the Rotary Club and the hospital, Wal-Mart Pharmacy and Red Cross United Drug are sponsors.

Vials of Life are being sold for $2 at the following places:

Community Bank in

La Grande, Union and Elgin.

Grande Ronde Hospitals gift shop.

Klamath First Bank in

La Grande.

Pioneer Bank in La Grande.

Red Cross Drug Store in

La Grande.

Wal-Mart in Island City.

All proceeds go to cover the cost of the project.

Anyone who would like a presentation made to their group or club about the program should call Dowdy at 963-5453 or 963-7137, or Marjorie Brown at 663-8011 or 963-0105.