Tuesday, April 14, 2015

In case of emergency

When I was in my mid-20s, I learned that a friend of mine had listed me as her emergency contact. Thankfully, I didn't learn this information during an actual emergency. Rather, after hanging out one night she admitted that it was hard being far away from family, and even though she lived with her boyfriend, she had me listed as her emergency contact on all her forms.

I was flattered and floored, and then another friend of ours piped up and said, "Yup. I would totally trust Lauren to take care of me if there ever was an emergency."

I've long since moved away from that friend and hope that she has another person in her life that she trusts when life throws the worst her way.

As for me, my husband has long been my emergency contact, with my backup contact as my Mom. Both of these people are - of course - my family. But it turns out that lots of people don't list next of kin in case of an emergency. Instead, they rely on friends.

Yale University researchers found that a higher than previously thought number of people are listing nearby friends to make life-saving decisions for them should a medical emergency arise. The study doesn't really delve into why, but it is easy to think of those scenarios in which family members live too far away or - with the higher rate of unmarried folks - are not an option. Those people create a family of friends whom they rely on to have their best interests at heart.

Who do you want to make medical decisions for you when you are no longer able to do so? That's a question that I've often wondered about my family members. I'd like to know now, rather than finding out in case of an emergency.

Who's your emergency contact? Do they know? Tell me in the comments.

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