Vial of Life
The Vial of Life is a program that aims to make vital health information available to emergency responders in the event of a medical emergency. The "Vial" is a basic medical history sheet that is filled out and kept in a prescription vial (in your refrigerator door). The Red Decal "Vial of Life" is placed on the outside of the refrigerator in top corner and/or, just on your entrance door.
The Vial of Life details a: person's name, emergency medical contacts and insurance policy information. It details current health problems, current medications and dosages. It lists allergies, recent surgeries, your doctor's name and phone number, your pharmacist (of record), your health care proxy information and your religious affiliation.
Important: Take your "Vial" with you to each Doctor's appointment for updated information.
The Vials and information can be picked up at the Trego Hospital Endowment Foundation, Inc., Trego County Health Department, Trego County EMS, Trego County Courthouse, Trego County Economic Development.
How to Use the Vial of Life
Store your prescription information in the database for easy access. If traveling, your information is online, for emergencies.
(When information is stored, it allows you to easily change your medical information, telephone numbers, doctors, etc. and print out an updated copy.)
- Learn more about how to use the Vial of Life
- Guest login - to fill out vial of life Personal Information Form
Vial of Life.com & the Vial of Life Project
While there are number of different programs and agencies that provide these materials, the website VialofLife.com is the most prominent. Individuals can request free forms and UV coated decals on this website and can even save their information online through the secure online database. This allows patients to update and print their changing medical information. The VialofLife.com and VialOfLife.org websites are live security protected sites where individuals and organizations can fill out the Vial of Life medical information form and print or edit their data.
The History of the Vial of Life
It is unknown where and when the first Vial of Life program started. The Vial of Life was named after the prescription bottles that were originally used to store a medical information form inside the patient's refrigerator. That prescription bottle would then be rubber banded to the bottom of the top-most shelf of the refrigerator door.
In 1981, the Sacramento chapter of the American Red Cross transferred their program and small amount of Vial of Life supplies over to Jeff Miller the Founder and CEO of Vital-Link, Inc. In the following years, Miller and his distributors kept the program going by giving free Vial of Life kits to their medical alert system subscribers as part of the service.
In 1998, Jeff Miller turned the program into a California Public Charity (which later gained 501[c] 3 status) called the Vial of Life Project. This charity supplies materials to seniors and others in need across the United States. It also supplies many Red Cross Chapters, governmental agencies, hospitals, pharmacies, senior centers, Eagle Scout projects, municipalities, etc. with free Vial of Life Kits or highly discounted decals for those needing mass quantities. For 32 years Jeff Miller's organizations have utilized and improved this program, donating over 3 million Vial of Life kits to those in need.
Free decals provided by the Vial of Life Project are paid for by American Senior Safety Agency, a low cost, high quality, medical alert company.
The Vial of Life has spawned many similar programs such as "File of Life" and "Vial A Life." Jeff Miller and the Vial of Life Project Charity left the Vial of Life name in public domain so that the Vial of life could be replicated and used by other agencies and organizations. Due to his historical claim to the Vial of Life name, no organization can copyright the name. Jeff Miller's intent was to keep it for the good of all.
Other Vial of Life Programs
While there are different types of Vial of Life programs out there, they all function similarly. When the paramedics arrive at the house, a decal on the front door (or a front window) alerts them that the resident uses the Vial of Life for their medical information. The decal will also direct the paramedics to where the information is kept, whether that is in a plastic bag on the outside of the fridge or a pill bottle inside of the refrigerator.
Originally, Vial of Life kits came with a plastic vial (empty pill bottle or other container). The vial would be labeled with a Vial of Life decal, and the completed medical information form would be placed inside. These plastic vials tend to get lost in the refrigerator, pushed towards the back of it over time and can prove hard to find for emergency crews. Nowadays, most programs (including the Vial of Life Project AKA Vial of Life.com) ask patients to place their completed medical form inside of a plastic Ziploc bag. This bag will go on the front of the refrigerator with a Vial of Life decal on it. While there are a few ways for this information to be kept in the home, this is the most common.
What Medical Information is Necessary
When a patient first starts with their Vial of Life kit, they must complete a medical information form about their medical history. All information on this form is optional, but the more information a patient provides the better. When paramedics have complete medical information, they are able to take measures to treat patients with special allergies or medical conditions appropriately in an emergency. Patients fill out information such as blood type, medical conditions, current medications, doctor's name and number, allergies, insurance information, and emergency contacts. Patients can also include health directives such as a DNR (Do Not Resuscitate), the most recent cardiogram (AKA EKG), and even a picture to help identify them.
It is encouraged that patients with complex medical histories fill out their medical information form with their doctor's help. Also, many seniors benefit from bringing their completed Vial of Life form to doctor's visits. Many seniors have trouble when they are overprescribed medications or prescribed conflicting medications by different doctors. The Vial of Life form is a practical way to keep all of that information in one place.
Trego Hospital Endowment Foundation, Inc.
320 N 13th Street
P.O. Box 123
WaKeeney, Ks 67672
Call 785-743-2182, extension 272, for information and/or assistance.