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Tips for Organizing a Medical History

By Kathy Porter

(Page 3 of 3)

What should you keep in a medical history?

  • Names of all physicians

  • Known allergies or reactions to medications

  • Medications including over-the-counter medicines, vitamins and herbs

  • Health conditions and date of diagnosis

  • Dates of most recent exams, tests and immunizations

  • Dates and reasons for hospitalizations

  • Dates and details of surgeries

  • Dates and length of major illnesses

  • History of smoking and use of alcohol

  • Location of living will or medical directives

  • History of exposure to dangerous conditions or hazards

  • Family history including illnesses or conditions of parents and siblings

  • Cause of death of parents and siblings and their age at death

Iím pretty sure that I will never again find Motherís insurance cards inside an old purse looped over a hanger in the darkest corner of her closet. I hope I never again have to phone a doctorís office to relay information I didnít have with me at the appointment. But most of all, Iím confident that if Iím not around, someone else can tell the emergency room doctors what they need to know about my loved one.


Kathy Porter lives in Dallas, Texas and is the primary caregiver for her mother, Rue, who is living with dementia and diabetes. Rue recovered from her broken hip after surgery.  After Kathyís emergency surgery on the same day, she fully recovered from her illness as well. Kathy is a Human Resource consultant for a large information technology firm.


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