Irwin EMTs encourage use of File of Life

The following story from features Allegheny student Alexandra Hess ’16.

Emergency medical technicians know that when they administer medication to try to help a patient, they run the risk of doing more harm than good.

But a new program called the File of Life being offered by Irwin’s emergency medical service aims to reduce the chances of making potentially dangerous mistakes by putting vital patient information in the hands emergency medical personnel.

Residents now can receive free wallet cards and refrigerator magnets on which they can write information such as their medical history or any medications they are taking.

EMT Alexandra Hess developed the program as a service to residents.

“I’m a pre-med student at Allegheny College, and we’re encouraged to get involved in community service,” said Hess, 21, of Murrysville, a junior studying biology. “So while I was home during Christmas break, I started thinking about a way to help the community that is related to the work I do as an EMT.”

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Tony LaRussa is a Trib Total Media staff writer. Reach him at