William S. Middleton Memorial Veterans Hospital
August is Medic Alert Month
During the month of August we recognize the value of medic alert devices particularly for individuals who live with medical conditions that may require immediate attention. For example, these devices help alert medical professionals to patients who have diabetes, heart conditions, stroke risk, severe allergies and epilepsy to name a few. The most common form of medical identification is jewelry which provides a logo or inscription indicating a particular medical condition. These medical identification tags can be made out of stainless steel (usually classified as 316L and known as surgical stainless steel), sterling silver or gold and are available with pre-engraved conditions or can be custom engraved with a specific medical history. If found by emergency personnel the inscription provides an indication of your special medical needs. For example, a diabetic identification would prompt an emergency medical professional to provide glucose, insulin, or other medication. Similarly, a tag might alert a health care professional to avoid administering penicillin to someone who is allergic to it.
Medical identification jewelry can also indicate membership in a medical information organization such as the MedicAlert Foundation. Such medical ID jewelry includes a member identification number and a toll-free number for medical emergency personnel to contact the organization and obtain full information about the wearer's medical conditions, treatment, and history. These organizations maintain a database of medical information on their members and can provide it to medical personnel when requested.
Another type of medical jewelry is a pendant or wrist strap containing a wireless alert button, also known as a panic button, worn in the home as part of a wireless medical alert system. This type of medical jewelry sends a signal to a dialing console which contacts a medical alarm monitoring service when an emergency occurs.
If you or someone in your family wears a medic alert ID, be sure you understand their medical condition in case medical attention is ever needed. With your help, first responders and emergency personnel will be able to more efficiently treat your loved one, which could be the difference between life or death.