Vial of Life

The Vial of Life is the least expensive project funded by the Ottawa Heart Institute’s Patient Alumni association at $0.60 per unit, yet it is highly effective and potentially life-saving. The Vial of Life kit is given to all patients upon discharge from the Ottawa Heart Institute (HI). It consists of a vial (a large plastic pill bottle), an information sheet for your name and contact information, a form on which to list all your medications, and a bright yellow fridge magnet. All you need to do is complete the contact information form and the list of your medications, fold then into the vial, place the vial in your freezer, and then stick the magnet on your refrigerator which will inform emergency health responders that vital information about your health is in the freezer. It is that simple!

A few weeks ago the Patient Alumni Office received a call from the wife of a former HI patient thanking us for funding the Vial of Life program. Her husband had experienced a non-heart related medical emergency at home. Because he had used the Vial of Life kit, the attending paramedics, who are trained to check for the yellow fridge magnet, were able to quickly identify his medications and treat him based on this important information. The kit works!

The project is managed by a Lorie Cavan, an HI registered nurse, who is passionate about the importance of the kit. She shops frugally for the items that make up the kit and Lorie and her husband, Tim Cavan, a Captain with the Ottawa Fire Service, and their children assemble the kits at home.

The Patient Alumni sincerely thank the Cavan family for their dedication to the Vial of Life program.

If you would like a Vial of Life kit, please email the Patient Alumni office ( It can save your life!