I See I Had ... Home


Study Notes:

  1. 1.When we first respond to a call we use the mnemonic ‘Safety F.I.R.S.T. G.E.T. 1° &  2° ABCDs’ (Safety first, get primary and secondary ABCDs) to guide what we do for the first 1-5 minutes of the call.

  2. 2.To complete the call we use the mnemonic “I.C.I.H.A.D.Vs.As. & Tx’, which is spoken as “I see I had vital signs assessed and treated’, and is referred to as the ICI HAD mnemonic (said as “I see I had”).

  3. 3.The ICI HAD mnemonic is also used to guide how we give a medical report to another health care professional, and as a standardized format for charting.

  4. 4.Unlike ‘Safety First...’, the ‘ICI HAD...’ mnemonic does not necessarily have to be completed in exact order (although, it’s convenient if you can).  Also, unlike ‘Safety First...’ we do not always complete all the steps in ‘ICI HAD’ although, again, it’s good if you can.


“I see I had vital signs assessed and treated”


When you receive an emergency call you begin to move toward the patient. Whether this means getting into your ambulance, starting to drive to the patient’s location, or getting out of your ambulance and walking toward your patient, you are approaching your patient.  At this stage of the call you need to think about a large number of things in a specific order.  The way I recommend you do that is by following the steps laid out in the mnemonic Safety FIRST GET 1° and 2° ABCDs.  This is what I call the ‘patient approach’ mnemonic.  If you’re not familiar with it, I suggest you read through that section of the website first, then come back to this one.

After you have completed the patient approach (using the mnemonic above) you then have another set of steps to remember and perform.  To remember these steps I teach my students to use the memory aid “I see I had vitals assessed and treated”, which I call the ‘call completion’ mnemonic (I C I HAD Vs As & Tx). In this section of the site, I’ll explain what that means and how to use it.

Unlike the “Safety First” mnemonic, the steps in “I see I had...” aren’t as rigid.  Although it makes the most sense to complete them in the order given, it’s not as important to do so.  In fact, in some calls, there are steps you will miss altogether, and that is OK.  For example, in a severe trauma call we often don’t obtain the identity of the patient, nor do we delve into their past medical history, allergies or any medications they might be taking.  Those are ‘nice-to-know’ items and so not very important when time is of the essence.

Another advantage of this memory aid is that it follows an internationally standardized format for giving a patient report to other medical professionals. Here’s an example. Using this format to communicate with other clinicians will help to establish your credibility as a medical professional.  It’s also a useful format if you write your patient reports in a ‘free-style’ manner (as opposed to filling in boxes on a form).

In the next few pages I’ll explain what each step of this memory aid means.  There is a menu in the top right hand of this page to help you navigate.  You can also use the ‘next’ link at the bottom of each page.

Ready to start?  Hit the ‘next’ link below ...

Completing the Call ...