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Vial of Life Program a Success in Maine

Norway, ME In less than six months, about 1,000 Vial of Life canisters have been distributed in the community, rendering the program temporarily out of stock and a major success.

I walk into a home and it s very common to see five medications on the kitchen table and five in the bathroom. Now there s 10 in different areas of the house. All I need is the Vial of Life. We grab the thing and go, explained Gary Sousa, an emergency medical technician with PACE ambulance service and the coordinator for the Vial of Life program.

The idea is not new, but Stephens Memorial Hospital and PACE paramedic service thought the program could be brought to a new level.

Under the program, residents fill out a form that includes detailed history on such issues as cardiac and other diseases, next of kin, emergency numbers and just about anything else emergency personnel might need to assist in providing the best emergency care for a patient.

Rather than scrambling around the house looking for medications, Sousa said the one sheet of paper gives them all the information they need at that moment. It s just better service for our community, Sousa said. It allows us to find out what patient drugs are and the next of kin and other things in one sheet. It s a quicker response.

Sousa said the system is simple.

The Vial of Life form is filled out, placed in the refrigerator on either the top shelf of the door or the upper shelf of the refrigerator.

The static sticker is placed on the residence s front door or the main entry and can be placed in an adjacent window, but must be easily visible.

Assistance in filling out the form can be obtained from PACE employees by calling 207-743-5933, ext. 700 or the doctor or pharmacist will assist someone who needs help with the form.

Sousa said vials have been kept at Ketner Pharmacy on Fair Street in Norway, which gave out 200 in six hours and is out of stock for another week or so; Harrison Town Hall on Route 35; Stephens Memorial Hospital on Lower Main Street; and other places.

PACE makes sure that other ambulance services, such as United Ambulance, are also aware of he program.

I m reordering, Sousa said. It s free to anyone who asks for it.

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