ICE Entries and, Your address book is a database

ICE = In Case of Emergency.  First responders are learning to find the cell phone of an unconscious person and look for an ICE = In Case of Emergency entry.  The numbers in that entry are to people who would be useful or should be notified that the cell phone owner needs help.  Help the EMT help you by creating the entry, and by making sure your friends and family members create ICE entries for their own phones.

Along the same lines, consider that most phone address books can hold more than phone numbers, especially for “smart” phones that sync to a PC and have a “notes” field for each contact entry.

I wish I could remember how the subject came up.  Someone asked when I had my most recent tetanus shot.  I pulled out my cell phone and went to “T” in the address book.  I had the answer.  My friend was astounded. (A friend recently needed an emergency tetanus shot, and went to the emergency room on a Saturday night. The total bill was $426, with only $27 of that being for the injection itself and the remainder for ancillary ER services.)

My dogs each have entries in my phone, with their microchip information and date of last rabies shot.

For that matter, the date of my own rabies series is filed under “R,” but that’s a long and different story.  (Make CERTAIN the administering nurse codes the injection as “treatment for exposure,” not “prophylaxis.”)

I know a woman who keeps her son’s preference in beer in his entry’s Notes field.  When he visits, she knows what to buy.  (I suppose, if one had enough sons with different preferences, it might be easier to create a “beer” entry, but that’s not the case in this particular family.)

I have the rental rates and minimum head counts for my favorite meeting space in the Notes field of its entry.

I’m usually pretty well prepared for planned medical visits, and I can assemble the relevant records a day or two before.  However, “tetanus” (in particular; there are others that have a similar unexpected quality) is one medical outcome that is often unexpected, the result of an unplanned trip to the ER or urgent care clinic.  I will almost always have my phone with me on that kind of visit.  Common sense note:  the notes I make are somewhat cryptic, and I don’t keep my entire medical history on a device that can be pickpocketed out of my purse.  However, I’d rather a thief find out my tetanus history than get a shot I don’t really need because it hasn’t been very long since the last one.


  1. Brilliant! I’m going to get hooked on reading you, like I was hooked on reading Ann Landers as a kid! Thank you for sharing.

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