Flash Drives Helping the Elderly

Tiny drives contain important medical information for first responders.

By Marianne Favro
|  Tuesday, Apr 9, 2013  |  Updated 6:10 AM PDT
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Flash drives are being made available to seniors who wish to have pertinent medical information on their person at all times, in case of emergency. Marianne Favro reports.

Flash drives are being made available to seniors who wish to have pertinent medical information on their person at all times, in case of emergency. Marianne Favro reports.

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 Joan Griffiths and Jan Murphy realized they shared a common concern. They often walk alone and were worried what might happen to them if they had a medical emergency.

"I felt vulnerable  because I had a heart attack two years ago," Jan Murphy said. "What if I had another one and I wasn't able to talk to the paramedics."

The women shared their concerns with Annie Hagstrom Liason Palo Alto Medical Foundation at Avenidas Village, a non-profit in Palo Alto that helps seniors.

Annie and her husband, a doctor, came up with the idea of using a simple flash drive containing critical medical information.

Seniors can also include information about an advanced directive  on the flash drive so paramedics  know whether they want to be resuscitated.

Hagstrom said the Palo Alto Police and Fire Departments embraced the concept.

"We are continuing  to go out and talk to first responders and emergency rooms and hospitals to educate people, " said Hagstrom.

For now only first responders in the Palo Alto area have been trained to look for the flash drive, but that may change because the idea is taking off.

Already  750 seniors have come to Avenidas Village in Palo Alto to purchase an ER flash drive for five dollars.

"It gives me peace of mind . I walk a lot and my daughter worries about me, " Griffiths said.

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