What Happens To Your Pet If You Are Rushed To The Hospital And Live Alone?

Discussion in 'Pets & Critters' started by Chrissy Cross, Feb 22, 2016.

  1. Chrissy Cross

    Chrissy Cross Veteran Member
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    I think about this occasionally and Ken's reply in a post reminded me today again. I live by myself, no real friends here in Fresno. If I have to call 911 what will the paramedics do with my dog? Do they even lock the house if nobody else is there? Will they knock on a neighbor's door and ask if my dog can stay there?

    Is this a stupid question???
     
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  2. Yvonne Smith

    Yvonne Smith Very Well-Known Member
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    It is not a stupid question, and probably one that many of us worry about when we live alone. When I was in Idaho (before I met Bobby), I lived alone in the woods in a little trailer house. I had dogs, my horse, and the milk goat, plus some rabbits and my llama.
    I worried that if I fell in the deep snow in the winter and froze to death with a broken leg, what would happen to my animals. The little dogs always went along with me when I was outside working in the snow, and they would have all frozen to death along with me.
    In town, I think that they might call animal control to come and get your dog or cat if you had to be taken to the hospital; but otherwise no one would even know to come and get them.
    If you can talk to one of your neighbors about taking care of Pickles until your family can get there and take him, that would maybe be the best thing.
    If he can be left either inside or out in a fenced yard until your daughter can get there, he would probably feel better than if someone just took him to their house; but even that would be better than the animal control hauling him off and putting him in a cage.
    It is a worrisome things at any time, and even more so for us now that we are older. Maybe @Ken Anderson has some good suggestions, since he was a paramedic, and had to deal with those kinds of situations at times.
     
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  3. Ken Anderson

    Ken Anderson Veteran Member
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    I can't speak for what everyone would do but what they might do would depend in part on the amount of time they have. In a life threatening emergency, the paramedics are going to be concentrating on the patient. They would certainly lock up the house, and would make every effort to keep pets from escaping. Of course, if a cat rush by someone in the doorway, as cats are apt to to, we wouldn't drop everything and chase it. As any pet owner might be able to appreciate, that would be more likely to make matters worse. I've even fed cats or dogs before leaving the house.

    Speaking for myself, and I don't think I was all that much more conscientious than most medics would be, even in a dire emergency, I wouldn't ignore the pets altogether. I'd try to make sure they were all kept indoors and, although I probably wouldn't have time to arrange for it myself, I would instruct dispatch to contact the nearest relative. If a cat got out, as did happen at least once that I remember, they would be told about that. Unless the neighbor were someone that my patient was comfortable with, I wouldn't leave the house in the hands of a neighbor because not all neighbors are neighborly or trustworthy, and I wouldn't want to take that responsibility.

    I don't know how many places this might be true but, in my experience, the police would often respond to our emergencies as well. Since we would be responding from our station, in most cases, and there might be a police officer closer to the residence, they would often get there before us, and most cops have some emergency medical service training, and some are even paramedics. In such cases, we'd leave securing the house to the police, who could stay behind until a relative or friend arrived, or at least make sure the doors were locked.

    It's a good idea for people to have a plan, however, since your plans are probably better than ours. If you ask us to contact a specific person, whether it be a friend, neighbor, or family member, we will do that, or the police will, or our dispatcher will.

    I understand that paramedics who are working in some of the nation's largest cities may not be so accommodating, as they may literally spend their entire shift moving from one patient to another, and may already be pressured to get to their next call before they've left your house with you. Plus, in the larger cities, they are probably only minutes from the nearest hospital so they are not going to spend as much time with you.

    I've worked in very small towns where I knew many of my patients personally, and in larger cities, but I have never worked in a city the size of New York City, Los Angeles, or Chicago.

    When I worked in Los Fresnos, Texas, our transport times would be as much as forty minutes or more, so we'd have time to learn your concerns, and you might have time to think of them before we arrived at the hospital. But when I worked in McAllen, most of our transports were only a few minutes away.
     
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    Last edited: Feb 23, 2016
  4. Chrissy Cross

    Chrissy Cross Veteran Member
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    Thanks @Yvonne Smith and @Ken Anderson. If I'm able to speak I would definitely rather have Pickles locked in my house than my neighbors, most have dogs that he hasn't seen but barks at through the fence. The quickest my daughter could get here would be 3 hours so I guess he would be okay.

    Fresno is fairly big but my side of town is fairly quiet so I would think paramedics had the time here.
     
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  5. Ken N Louis

    Ken N Louis Well-Known Member
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    I would hope that in an emergency situation more than just the PMs would be responding..Here we see police and fire responders along with PMs..Surely someone would care for the pets and lock up or secure the house until kin can be notified..
     
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  6. Chrissy Cross

    Chrissy Cross Veteran Member
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    True, when I called the ambulance for my husband once, a fire truck also came out. Can't remember if the Police did or not. I didn't have the dog then but it wouldn't have been an issue because I was there. Now I have the dog and no husband. That too is a scary issue, will I be able to call 911 myself? Guess it depends on what happened.
     
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  7. Yvonne Smith

    Yvonne Smith Very Well-Known Member
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    This is another reason why it is good to have the ICE (in case of emergency) numbers programmed into our phones. One never knows when an automobile accident could occur, or even a medical emergency when we are not at home; but we usually always would have our cell phones with us.
    Even though it would take a while for relatives to get to us, and even if we are unable to talk or use the phone, at least emergency people can look on the phone and see who they should notify.
    I don't know how everyone else does it; but I just put the person's name, and then ICE afterwards.

    I have heard about an alarm that calls for help if you fall on the floor and do not get back up. It apparently has sensors that tell when you fall; so even if you passed out and fell, this kind of an alarm would call for help for you. I don't know how they would get in though, and might have to break in through the door.
     
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  8. Chrissy Cross

    Chrissy Cross Veteran Member
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    I have heard of ICE but have forgotten about it. Is it an iphone thing?
     
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  9. Ruby Begonia

    Ruby Begonia Very Well-Known Member
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    Good advice, here. In my city ambulance calls are always accompanied by police, if they are available. One word about the ICE contacts in the cells phones. My local hospital told me they don't check those, which I think is stupid. I also have my blood type, etc. in there
     
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  10. Ruby Begonia

    Ruby Begonia Very Well-Known Member
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    ICE= In Case of Emergency. Cell phones have a place to enter that kind of info
     
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  11. Chrissy Cross

    Chrissy Cross Veteran Member
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    Is there a site that tells me what I'm supposed to enter and where? Was just looking at my iphone and nothing jumps out at me.

    Is it for me to call for help or for someone that has my iphone to contact for example my daughter?

    @Yvonne Smith , I may have a panic button type thing that I got when I had my security system installed. Maybe I better check if the battery is still good. But how do I do that without summoning whoever gets summoned, lol.

    Jeez, I've become very lax in all these things. Forgot I even had it til Yvonne mentioned it.
     
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  12. Yvonne Smith

    Yvonne Smith Very Well-Known Member
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    Upon having a conversation with Bobby about this situation, Chrissy; we came up with this solution for you.
    Call the alarm company, and while they are on the phone, tell them you want to push the button to test it. Also ask them if changing the battery will set off the alarm, and then go and buy yourself a NEW battery because if that one has been in there so long you think it might be dead; then it probably is nearly dead even if it is working right now.

    The way I put the ICE info in was just went to contacts in my iPhone and updated the information to add the "ICE" after the name.
    So, instead of just having Robin's name, it has the name and then (ICE) afterwards.
     
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  13. Chrissy Cross

    Chrissy Cross Veteran Member
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    Okay, I get the ICE thing now. No harm in it being there, even if like @Ruby Begonia stated some places don't bother.

    Good idea about the panic button, I need to call my alarm company anyway because I'm not sure if it runs through my phone line. I'm still deciding what to do with my AT&T issue and I am seriously considering no home phone.

    I have lots to think about these next few months including all this and medicare.
     
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  14. Ken Anderson

    Ken Anderson Veteran Member
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    Generally, the medics won't be checking your cell phone but the police will if there's any question about contacts. One thing that medics will check for, particularly if there is any trouble communicating with the patient, is a Vial of Life. Originally, the vial of life program involved an actual vial, into which emergency health information (EKG, living will, DRN orders, photo, list of medications, major illnesses or health concerns, contacts) were placed, and then the vial itself would be placed toward the front, on the right side of the freezer compartment of your refrigerator, where it can be easily found without digging through frozen food packages, so I am sure that medics will still look for the actual vial, if that is what you are using. Now, it looks like they are suggesting that this information be placed in a baggie and secured, by tape or a magnet, to the front outside door of your refrigerator, with a decal on the refrigerator door as well as on your front door. I don't know but they probably made the change because the vials would sometimes become encased in ice and be difficult to retrieve.
     
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  15. Chrissy Cross

    Chrissy Cross Veteran Member
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    That's a good idea! When my husband was on Hospice care, I had to place a big DNR sign on my fridge. That's the only way he could be on hospice.
     
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  16. Ruby Begonia

    Ruby Begonia Very Well-Known Member
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    Fascinating! But all this info really should be on our bodies or in/on things near ourselves, like a cell phone. Its comforting to know police will look there, but what is stopping medics or ER staff from looking at cell phones where ICE info is stored?
     
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  17. Ken Anderson

    Ken Anderson Veteran Member
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    For most of my career, EMS providers were not permitted to honor DNR orders, which placed us in an uncomfortable position at times. Toward the end of my career, physician medical directors began to include DNR orders in EMS protocols. We were still sometimes placed in an uncomfortable position, when a family member (the one who called the ambulance to begin with) would insist on resuscitation, while there might be a written DNR order in evidence. In such cases, most protocols suggested erring on the side of resuscitation, since a dead patient wasn't as likely to sue as a living relative.
     
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  18. Ken Anderson

    Ken Anderson Veteran Member
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    Medics sometimes get accused of stealing things, so we will generally not look through anyone's wallet or touch their possessions. I was accused of stealing a patient's ring once, which of course I didn't do, and it's a very uncomfortable position because the police will generally treat the medic like a criminal, while family members will be threatening lawsuits, and people begin to wonder. In my case, this was an elderly woman who was living alone, and who had had a heart attack which she did not survive.

    Her daughter insisted that her mother always wore her diamond ring, and it was missing. Ergo, I must have stolen it. She wasn't wearing a ring, and may have put it in a drawer, lost it, pawned it, or gave it away, for all I know. Eventually, the daughter quit calling and nothing came of it. The daughter may have found it, but no one ever calls to apologize about such things.
     
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  19. Chrissy Cross

    Chrissy Cross Veteran Member
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    I didn't feel comfortable with the DNR and I know my husband didn't want it but I had to agree to it. Did ask what would happen if I took the sign off the fridge before calling an ambulance. They said. Nothing would happen. So that kind of reassured me that I had an option.

    It never became an issue anyway. The one time I did call an ambulance he was conscious.
     
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  20. Chrissy Cross

    Chrissy Cross Veteran Member
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    @Ken Anderson , that's terrible about the ring. I have the utmost respect for paramedics, firefighters, etc.

    I would never think to accuse one of stealing something.
     
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  21. Corie Henson

    Corie Henson Very Well-Known Member
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    That is not a stupid question. It is what they call realtalk. I'm fortunate to have a husband and a housemaid so if something happens to me, my dogs will not be neglected. But if you were my neighbor, I would probably volunteer to look not only after your dog but also after you in case there is an emergency. I understand the problem of living alone. Over here, living alone is a rare case because Filipinos have the penchant for sentimentality so grown up children live with their parents or aged parents live with their children.
     
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  22. Chrissy Cross

    Chrissy Cross Veteran Member
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    That's very kind of you, Corie. Thank you!
     
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  23. Diane Lane

    Diane Lane Very Well-Known Member
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    My neighbors know they're allowed to break the door in if they need to. I had planned to give them a key, but didn't get around to it back when we used to hang out on a consistent basis. I'm not as close to them as I used to be, but they still know if the front light's one for 2 days or more, or they see the strays looking for food, there could be a problem. They have my number, and can get me on Facebook, as well. I tend to leave a bag with dry food in case they need to gnaw through it, and they have 2 large water bowls, so should be o.k. My mom won't get another pet because she worries about who would take it if she died. In the past, I would have without question, but now I can barely support myself and my cats & feed the strays, so I wouldn't be able to.

    @Chrissy Page I'm not sure if you're familiar with ICE, but it stands for In Case of Emergency, and from what I've heard, most emergency responders will check your cell phone for that information, so they can notify your loved ones/doctors, etc. I don't have a cell phone, but they could look at my home phone directory and see there are only a few people I speak to on a consistent basis, and contact them.

    Here's some information about how to add ICE to your cell phone, and there are also ICE apps available for smart phones/tablets.

    http://www.wikihow.com/Add-ICE-to-Your-Cell-Phone
     
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  24. Chrissy Cross

    Chrissy Cross Veteran Member
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    Thanks, Diane. Up a few posts Ruby said that some don't. It won't hurt to put it in though.

    I'm trying to think of a place I could tape a note with instructions for paramedics that would be seen by them if I can't talk and not be an eyesore to me. Maybe if I frame it. :)
     
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  25. Ken Anderson

    Ken Anderson Veteran Member
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    As in my post about the vial of life, the refrigerator door is the best place since most medics will look for vial of life information if they have a patient who they can't communicate with. Otherwise, they won't be likely to go through any other part of the house. Get a vial of life sticker (free) and put the information in a baggie that is attached to your refrigerator door. See the vial of life link that I added on my previous post. You can add additional information to what they suggest, although keep it brief.
     
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