Medic Alert Bracelet?

Discussion in 'General Parenting' started by ACW823, Jan 25, 2007.

  1. ACW823

    ACW823 New Member

    Hi All,

    difficult child has been on Depakote since early November and we have seen wonderful results.

    I am thinking of getting him a Medic Alert chain with the drug info on it.
    Since this is a drug that you can't quit cold turkey I think this would be info that doctors would need in event of an emergency.

    Does anyone have any opinions on this? Is it something I should do or am I being overly cautious.

    Thanks!
     
  2. dreamer

    dreamer New Member

    we did have a medic alert for my oldest difficult child on a couple of the medications she was on.....I thought it was a good idea, but the bad part is sometimes the medications change kinda fast, hard to keep up.
    I especially liked it for drug interactions, interactions between routine daily medications and emergency medications that might get used by first responders if I were not readily available or if difficult child were not conscious.
     
  3. totoro

    totoro Mom? What's a GFG?

    You can get the Child safety ID wristbands. You slip a peice of paper in with al important info...
     
  4. Marguerite

    Marguerite Active Member

    I wear a SOS Talisman medallion. It sounds a bit like Child Safety ID bands, but I have the option of wearing it as a pendant and it's for adults too. It also has a l-o-n-g (22.5 cm or 9") strip of paper inside which concertinas up to fit, and which has ALL my medical info on it - what medications I take, what I'm allergic to (could fill a book) and contact phone numbers for family, doctor, specialist. Blood group, diagnosis, immunisations and dates, past surgeries, hospital file numbers - everything. Even emergency treatment advice. It all fits on this strip of paper (husband has customised a computer page so he can use a smaller typeface and so easily update the info, print out a new strip and carefully cut it out to fit it in). The paper strip is easily legible with lots of useful information. The medallion has a r-u-b-b-e-r gasket inside to keep the paper completely dry. I've never had a problem with the paper getting wet and I wear the thing ALWAYS - swimming, showering, etc. I only ever had to take it off in a hot sauna, because ANYTHING metal next to your skin will burn. Another sauna option could have been to cover it with tape.

    It can be purchased as a bracelet or pendant, comes in gold, silver or sterling steel. It can only be bought via the website, but I've worn one for years. Lost it only a couple of months ago (I was wearing it on long leather thong, it came off when I pulled a shirt over my head, so it's somewhere in the house - I'll pass it on to husband or difficult child 3 when I find it).

    I did find with my previous one (which I bought in 1978) that medicos don't recognise what it is very quickly, so this time I bought one with a caduceus on the back (that's one of those medical symbols - snake on a staff - symbol of Greek god Hermes and also the Greek god of healing, Asclepius).

    It's come in handy for us a number of times. There have been a few times when I've been in hospital but unable to remember or communicate medical info, and they've got out the paper strip to write the details into the file. husband can remember only some of the stuff, but on the paper strip it's saved a lot of time and hassle.

    Here's the website - http://www.sostalisman.co.uk/

    I just remembered - I'm on my third since 1978. The first one was gold-plated and we engraved the back with "unscrew for medical history". Unfortunately, you shouldn't engrave gold-plated stuff. And I was just too rough on the thing, the gold layer began to peel off after the engraving insult and it began to look worn and less attractive after about ten years' constant wear. Then we bought a stainless steel one and it was marvellous (until I misplaced it a couple of months ago). I love my new one, I especially feel a bit more secure with the caduceus on it.

    Back in early 1978 when I began to develop allergies, I had bought a silver disc medallion and had it engraved "allergic to penicillin." Then a few months later, I developed another allergy. We added that as well. Then when a third allergy (to a drug with a long name) came along, we were running out of space and challenging the skills of even the most talented engraver. With what I use now, I can update when I need to without getting a new medallion or finding a skilled engraver and I also know it's going to be legible.

    Whatever you choose - get one with a paper strip that you can update. And before you write on the paper strip, scan it or photocopy it so you can duplicate a master on your computer. Then you can type your text in any time you need to modify it, and simply print another copy.

    Good luck!

    Marg

    A PS from Marg's Man
    The SOS Talisman is good because it DOES NOT rely on being kept up to date in a centralised database.

    Computers crash; your subscription expires; the phone is engaged; it's needde during a disaster and the system is overwhelmed, etc, etc, etc.

    This method means you keep it up to date AND it is with you when it is needed.

    It also 'works' wherever you are, whether in a remote location such as the Australian outback, the wilds of Canada, the deserts of Nevada.

    Marg's Man
     
  5. timer lady

    timer lady Queen of Hearts

    I'm ordering a new medic alert bracelet. I thought it was all computerized now. You kept the database updated & doctors could call in or log on to get the information.

    I may be misinformed. Have to check this out.
     
  6. tiredmommy

    tiredmommy Site Moderator

    Great info! We've gone back & forth about getting Duckie a medic alert bracelet. Her world has been small enough up until now that it hasn't been 100% necessary. I'll probably order one after she's re-tested next month.
     
  7. Wiped Out

    Wiped Out Well-Known Member Staff Member

    Interesting to think about. My son changes medications so fast that right now I couldn't but in the future it will be something for us to consider. My medical bracelet (for my Addison's) is never off-don't know if I'll be able to get difficult child to wear one all of the time.
     
  8. Marguerite

    Marguerite Active Member

    The advantage of the inserted paper information strip is that you can update the info at any time, print out a replacement and pop it in. So even if medications change every week it's no big deal. And it's something you can do with ANY model that has a replaceable insert. You don't have to buy their expensive inserts, just duplicate it in a text file template on your computer. Once you've done the initial one, it's a five minute job (or less) to update, reprint and repack.

    I don't know about the Kids Alert one, but SOS also comes in a watchband medallion, so if the kid is wearing a watch the medallion fits snugly on the watchband. A pendant on a chain - you can include something cool on the same chain, like a surf medallion. Or anything.

    Marg
     
  9. witzend

    witzend Well-Known Member

    This is a very interesting question. Recently there have been some very poorly handled situations between the police and mentally challenged people in our area. The least violent was tasering an autistic young man who had gotten out of the house at night and was holding onto one of those 1" wide plastic bits that goes into cyclone fencing to make it less see-through. /ubbthreads/images/graemlins/919Mad.gif It was floppy, how could they reasonably say that they were frightened of this guy? Unfortunately, there have been several shootings, beatings and deaths in recent months. It's just awful.

    Of course, the police say that they can't tell the difference between a raging difficult child and a druggie, and that there are communication problems. Yes, I suppose there are. But this implies that if they had but known that these people were autistic or schizophrenic and couldn't respond to audible commands, it also implies that if they had known, they would have handled it differently. If our difficult children had a medic alert bracelet on them, might it help? I mean, if this was a standard that we could train the police to look for?

    Just a thought. These situations are abominable.
     
  10. Marguerite

    Marguerite Active Member

    That's a good point, Witz. I'm dreading it when difficult child 3 gets older, although he is highly verbal these days. But I do feel the police should be better educated - I can pick an autistic person really easily almost at a glance (or at least, be fairly sure that it's something sufficiently similar, to warrant a gentle approach) so why can't the police have a similar exposure as part of their training? OK, tazering technically won't do lasting harm (not physically) but what sort of emotional trauma is it going to cause to the victim?

    We've got an idiot police minister in our NSW parliament. He's trying to get our cops equipped with tazers and actually demonstrated one on a staff member, inside Parliament House (where ALL weapons are permanently banned and he'd previously been denied permission to make an exception with the tazer). The staff member who volunteered to be tazered (on live television) was OK after a while, but said if he'd known it would be that bad he wouldn't have volunteered. A pure publicity stunt that backfired because people could see how bad it was.

    The problem is, the health alert medallions won't help in this situation - they're too small. Unless you have it tattooed on their foreheads in letters of fire, most people won't notice the medallion. Only health professionals with a downed patient will know to look.

    Something we used to do with difficult child 3 when he was younger and non-verbal - we had a wrist label (on rainbow 1" wide elastic) that had his name, address and my mobile phone number written on it. We also wrote "autistic". Whenever we were away from home he would be terrified of being separated from the group, so he would willingly wear the wrist band. He wouldn't even take it off for his bath until we reassured him that he could leave it on the bench in plain sight and put it back on when he was getting dressed.
    We also did one more thing - we got those self-adhesive schoolbook labels and wrote his name and my mobile number on it, then stuck it on his shirt. That plus the wrist tag - it was easily seen when needed. When extra young we stuck the label on the back of his shirt so he wouldn't peel it off.
    And it worked - in 2000 we went to the Royal Easter Show in Sydney, held where the Olympics were later held the same year. it was a trial run to see how we'd handle the day. The crowds were immense and difficult child 3 was very much a wanderer. He was good about staying close, but late as we were leaving the crowd surged the wrong way and we got separated. Within minutes I got a call to my mobile phone - someone on a lemonade stand had found him and called us. It took me ten minutes to struggle through the crowd and get to him. Without the label he couldn't have given them the details because when he was upset back then he lost his speech.

    At least now I know he will find a way to get through to me. he's even gone into shops, given them my number and asked them to call me. He won't be able to do THAT much longer - he's getting too good at "pretending to be normal" as he calls it.

    But back to your point, Witz - I wonder, is there a way in which we can coordinate with, say, the police to develop a method for easier identification of the more vulnerable difficult children? I have an adult friend (in his sixties) who is epileptic, he has a large laminated card which he carries round his neck because sometimes his behaviour seems very odd and people do wonder if he's an escapee from a nearby psychiatric ward. Those who know him just leave him to himself (apart from keeping a lookout for him, to keep him safe - we all love him). But what about if he's out of his area, or someone similar? We need something different here.

    Marg
     
  11. AnnKS

    AnnKS New Member

    This is something that I have been contemplating as well. My daughter's condition prevents me from being too specific because there is not a lot of room on a medical alert bracelet, but we were thinking about getting one that said "neurological condition" with our phone #s on it. Our concern was that it would embarrass her or upset her. We still feel she needs it though. I have expressed my fear in other posts that she may run from me in a public setting or that someone might think that we are hurting her or she may tell someone that we are hurting her, etc. I keep going back and forth. I definately agree that listing medications, at least for us, would be ridiculous. I would have to engrave a 9x9 piece of metal and strap it around her neck -- lol!! And yes, we do change medications on a fairly regular basis. We have started carrying a not from our psychologist stating what her condition is, just in case some outrageous situation occurs.
     
  12. dreamer

    dreamer New Member

    IIRC police where I live are also trained to look for a medic alert necklace or bracelt, but yes, from afar noone would be able to see it. ANd yes, they can be a HUGE help even for "odd displays of behavior"

    As for tazers? they are NOT as harmless as previously thought and some overzealous officers are also tazering more than once. MANY have died from being tazered. There is also another thing besides tazers being used.I cannot remember for sure but I am thinking some kind of bean bag thing- and an adult man here was killed by those recently becuz they officer used more than one? or he hit the person in the head instead of the body?

    Newer medic alert type medallions DO give a phone number or website or some other type contact info and can be updated more easily more often.....

    and keep in mind if you yourself are who does call for emergency help in a crisis, it is important you be sure to state the person has a medical condition related to odd and disturbing behaviors and that you want MEDICAL help- cuz very often police assume you want criminal type intervention such as this is a victim criminal type call- but if you make it clear you want help transporting for medical the cops very well might approach the entire situation a little differently.
     
  13. Marguerite

    Marguerite Active Member

    It sounds increasingly like the best medallion for those with a complex story/long list of medications/allergies plus frequent changes, is the sort with inserted paper strip. With my new medallion, husband hand-wrote everything on my strip and even though he was careful, it was a bit cramped. When he transferred it onto the computer (like a mini-text file!) the printout is much easier to read AND leaves room for any more info. It's amazing what we've fitted in there. And if it's changed tomorrow, I can have a new paper strip updated and inserted within five minutes (the extra time is because I would need to get the scissors and cut out the paper strip to fit my medallion).
    There is nothing on my medallion to say that I have a neurological condition, but it does make it clear, close-up, that it contains vital information. I still have confidentiality from the general public unless I'm downed for any reason and someone opens it up.

    For most people with maybe just a single diagnosis or one or two allergies, an engraved disc would be enough. For anyone with more detailed information needed to be conveyed, get something with the paper strip. And make sure that the container has some sort of waterproof seal (mine has a tiny rub-ber gasket, replaceable if damaged, although I've never had a problem like that). I bath wearing mine, swim with it, shower with it and it's never been water-affected. I have to take it off for MRIs and X-rays (and during surgery) but otherwise it stays on.

    Some medallions do give contact to a website or phone number, but there are potential pitfalls in relying on this alone - what if the phone number is not staffed 24/7? What if you're injured somewhere away from phones or computers? I can just visualise an emergency - some bystander has rushed up to try to help, they did a first aid course about six years ago, you're lying there in anaphylaxis, they see your medallion, they call the number - and get put on hold while they listen to "Girl From Ipanema" or similar.

    Having the phone or website as a back-up and perhaps larger repository for information would be useful, but whatever you use needs to be self-contained and rapidly accessible.

    My mother used to wear a medallion that had her hospital name and file number written on it. In an emergency people were supposed to call the hospital and ask for her file. It still took time and still backfired at times. Once she had an asthma attack in the heart of Sydney, got taken to the nearest hospital (not hers) and they did the right thing and called her hospital to ask for her file and talk to her doctor. But their misdiagnosis ("she's having a heart attack" - she wasn't) almost had them giving her a medication she knew she was violently allergic to. Fortunately she was conscious but she had to violently object and they almost sedated her to medicate her. But the hospital file number was the best way for her to go back then, as there were no medallions with paper strip options in those days.

    Marg
     
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