Bracelets, necklaces and anklets are accessories to some, a necessity to others. I am referring to medical IDs that people with certain conditions have to wear all the time. When these IDs were introduced back in the 50s or 60s, they were bulky and ugly, making the wearer stand out and feel cumbersome. A lot of things have changes since then and nowadays medical bracelets come in all forms and sizes – and they can be glamorous. After all, if Lindsay Lohan can wear a designer-made alcohol anklet, why can’t a diabetic make a fashion statement?
Why wear a medical ID?
It is advisable that people with diabetes, emphysema, heart disease, allergies, asthma, autism, epilepsy, Parkinson’s, or hearing, sight or mental impairments wear some form of medical ID. In case of emergency, when the patient collapses and becomes unresponsive, these IDs can provide info to emergency medical personnel. Connie Meyer, president of the National Association of Emergency Medical Technicians:
“I think if you have a chronic medical problem that might make you unresponsive, then it’s a good idea to have something… it speeds things up. If we see a tag that says diabetic, then we’ll go straight to checking the blood sugar as our first assessment. But we still do other assessments.”
Glam medical IDs
Nowadays, medical IDs look more like jewelry. They can be in silver, gold, titanium, decorated with semi-precious stones, customized, and pre-engraved depending on the wearer’s taste and whim. Patients can even design their own jewelry medical ID online. These glam IDs make the wearer feel good but present some problems for medical personnel. In cases of emergency, it is not easy to tell which is jewelry and which is medical ID in unresponsive patients.
One of the leading makers of fashional medical IDs is American Medical ID.
What do medical IDs say?
Medical IDs are meant to give the most relevant info about medical conditions but the space on these IDs is limited. Thus, standardized abbreviations have been developed that are easily understandable to medical personnel. Some of these are:
- ARDS: adult respiratory distress syndrome
- BKA: below knee amputation
- CXR: chest X-ray
- qh: every hour
- Hx: history
- IDDM: Insulin-dependent diabetes mellitus
- NPO: nothing by mouth
- prn: whenever necessary
“Invisible” medical IDs
InvisibleBracelet.org is a web-based registry that created the iBracelet, an “invisible” medical ID, which is basically a PIN. Your PIN can be texted to an iB central number or entered into an iB registry by an authorized medical personnel and he or she receives a relevant info of medical records, including medical conditions, medications, and next-of-kin. The PIN can be stored in your phone under “in case of emergency” (ICE), on your key holder, etc. Your PIN is basically the key to open your electronic medical records.
Photo credit: www.americanmedical-id.com