Paul's Heart

Life As A Dad, And A Survivor

Med-Alert Bracelet

Just how important is the Med-Alert bracelets, bling that is meant to save your life?  I bought one four years ago, and of course its condition looks like I have had it that long.  I am not known for wearing bracelets or watches.  I really do not like anything around my wrist.  However, my investment of a little over $30 has already been counted on once.

A Med-Alert is a tag that can be worn on your wrist as a bracelet, or around your neck as a necklace.  Paramedics are trained to look for these identification tags as patients know this is the only way that they can communicate if unconcious.  My particular tag only measures about a half inch wide by an inch and a half long.

On the front side it shows my name, identifies three main medical issues with me, treatments I was exposed to and when, and then refer to the back side of the tag.  On the reverse side, it lists two of the main doctors I deal with, orders to call them immediately, and also a note to refer to my wallet for additional information.

My wallet contains two laminated information cards.  The first card lists all the things that my body has been through, or put through, a miniature medical file of diseases, wounds, treatments, etc.  It is amazing and overwhelming at the same time to see the abreviated version of my health history.  The second card deals with fevers and infections.  There is a special protocol that needs to be followed for me being asplenic (no spleen).  Actually it should be applied to anyone without a spleen.  A cocktail of antibiotics are to be started IV assuming I have an infection if I report to have a fever.  In the meantime, blood cultures need to be done immediately (to see what the infection might be) which is why they antibiotics need to be started right away, as cultures take time to grow.  A case of sepsis has close to an 80% chance of mortality after 24 hours of devloping.  There is no time to wait for test results.

My bracelet is pretty well scratched up as it has never left my wrist.  So it has been bumped and scratched, but it is still able to do the job it needs.  This past March, my personal system was put into play as Wendy called for an ambulance at 4am.  The EMT’s noticed that I had the bracelet, read the bracelet, and then asked Wendy about my wallet with the information cards.  Without me being able to speak, the EMT’s now knew my medical history and the extra care I would need.

Days later, I was told that my blood levels were so high for sepsis, that I had to be septic for at least 24 hours prior.  So I was already at risk.  Delays definitely would not have been in my favor.  The doctor was able to order care stat, that is medical lingo for “now”.

In this particular case, I believe my bracelet saved my life, and there is a good chance it will be needed again.  But there are so many others who would benefit from alerting an unsuspecting EMT:  diabetics, cancer history, high blood pressure, etc., any kind of condition that could affect emergency care with you not being able to communicate is crucial.

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