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42 Responses

  1. Pip
    Pip June 12, 2013 at 4:16 am | | Reply

    Hi, I’ve worn one for a long time, always thought it was a good idea in case I was ever injured in a car crash or anything else where I couldn’t say I have Type 1 diabetes. It would give the emergency services the knowledge to prioritise me hopefully!

  2. Bruce Miller
    Bruce Miller June 12, 2013 at 4:17 am | | Reply

    Great reminder…I generally have only worn mine when traveling. Mainly my concern is that the instructions NEVER to administer D5W or other dextrose laden IV fluids in the event of a medical emergency are clear.

    Thanks for posting this one. I have made the point with the support group I lead. However that was a year ago and not a very robust suggestion just “something to consider” that all have an alert tag that suits their stye.

    Good topic for next meeting.

  3. Scott E
    Scott E June 12, 2013 at 5:30 am | | Reply

    Glad to hear you got one, Mike. I’ve had my times when I didn’t wear mine, but for years I have — all those stories about police officers abusing drivers who were having hypoglycemic reactions scared me into it. But mine isn’t in great shape – the chain links always get caught on things (do you know how awkward it is having a bracelet get stuck to the INSIDE of a pocket? Moving my wrist around to try to get it unhooked can look like – to a casual observer – something else. I’ll definitely want to take a look at the company you mentioned.

    Meanwhile, my watch broke a week ago, so my left wrist is bare. Now, with a medical ID bracelet on one wrist and nothing on the other, I feel somewhat unbalanced. It’s somewhat symbolic how the bracelet has made me feel “level” all these years.

    1. Lindsay
      Lindsay June 12, 2013 at 10:04 am | | Reply

      Scott, I had issues with the chains catching on everything too, so I switched to RoadID. No, it doesn’ t have the standout medical alert symbol, but it’s much more comfortable, and I haven’t ruined any clothing with it.

  4. Marcus
    Marcus June 12, 2013 at 5:39 am | | Reply

    For a while I wore a medical ID necklace, but I kept forgetting to put it on. So I decided to get a 5″ tatoo on my forearm:

    https://dl.dropboxusercontent.com/u/3134580/20121021_170542.jpg

    Never forgetting that one :)

    1. Diana Lee
      Diana Lee June 13, 2013 at 5:12 am | | Reply

      Sweet tattoo!

  5. Gabrielle
    Gabrielle June 12, 2013 at 6:13 am | | Reply

    There’s a really cool website called Lauren’s Hope that has really functional medical ID tags. I never take mine off. It may be geared more towards women, but they do have cool men’s bracelets too.

  6. marge stromberg
    marge stromberg June 12, 2013 at 6:35 am | | Reply

    I have a band on my watchband rather than a separate bracelet. I have friends with pacemakers who wear ID bracelets. It’s amazing how often we go out walking or doing sports with little or no ID on us… a bracelet at least helps a little.
    However I have a friend who has a bracelet… had a hypo while driving. The paramedics were ready to shock her for a heart attack before she was able to alert them to her bracelet. So no system is foolproof.

  7. Lindsay
    Lindsay June 12, 2013 at 6:58 am | | Reply

    I think it’s really important to wear a Medical ID, but I don’t think it has to be the metal chain type. I ended up ordering a RoadID with my info because it looks sporty and works well for exercising.

  8. Dan
    Dan June 12, 2013 at 7:02 am | | Reply

    Hi Mike,
    It is easy to find reasons to not wear an ID regarding our medical conditions. I have been wearing one since day one as a T1D. It is now 47 years later. My suggestion would be to go to: http://www.medicalert. org. The reason that this organization was started was based upon a error in an emergency room. Over a 47 year period there has been changes and style changes regarding the methods employed to manage my condition. There are times in our life when time is of the essence. The day will come when you may witness either yourself or someone else who is in need of serious assistance. Knowledge is very helpful during such challenges. I wear one around my wrist and my neck. Shirts and ties can hid the on around my neck. Oh, btw during pickup basketball games the one around my neck could be found wrapped in my shoe laces. As always have a great day.

  9. Dan
    Dan June 12, 2013 at 7:13 am | | Reply

    Hi Mike,
    You mentioned a dog tag. One suggestion would be to ask the US military why service members wear dog tags. It is not about you. It is about family, friends and your community.
    PS. What is the issue? As always have a great day.
    Dan

  10. Mary Dexter
    Mary Dexter June 12, 2013 at 8:31 am | | Reply

    Glad you posted this. When I was first dx I dutifully ordered a Medalert bracelet. The large metal plate caused pressure issues for my wrist and arm. I stopped wearing it after the 2nd breast biopsy. When I had to go to the hospital that day, they couldn’t figure out how to take it off (and I was so terrified I wasn’t any help) and they told me I might be electrocuted when they cauterized the incision. As far as the information on the back, nada. The experience taught me that often doctors and nurses know the least about adult diabetic’s needs (insulin, antibiotics, I had to remind and fight for access to these).
    This valentine’s day I ordered another bracelet. They wouldn’t put LADA on it because that dx isn’t recognized. But the metal heart is smaller and doesn’t make my arm hurt. They gave me stickers for my husband and my cars’ windows.
    Whenever I hear med staff accuse patients of being noncompliant, I want to turn the accusation back on them. How much do they know about diabetes, how well have they kept up with the changes over the past century, do they give their patients education, test strips and insulin prescriptions, or just tell them to eat less? Who is noncompliant?

  11. Kathy
    Kathy June 12, 2013 at 9:18 am | | Reply

    I had a Medic Alert charm on my watch for years too. What made me religiously wear a new old school bracelet though is being alone in a strange city – my husband travels so much for work, it’s simply safer for me to have it visible. The car has a Medic Alert sticker too. With such aggressive police tactics now the norm you can’t be too careful :-/

  12. Bruce Miller
    Bruce Miller June 12, 2013 at 9:42 am | | Reply

    In addition to the safety issue, for me when traveling and eating out the Diabetes alert tag on a necklace, while not visible under my shirt, serves as a reminder to be very careful with carbs so I do not exceed 12 grams at a meal.

  13. Rachel
    Rachel June 12, 2013 at 1:15 pm | | Reply

    I started wearing an ID bracelet a few months after I was diagnosed, but I honestly hadn’t a clue what to put on it, so it has my name, type 1 diabetes and medication allergy on it.
    It became habit to put it on daily with my rings and watch, but recently I wonder if it would really be effective. I put the tag on whatever bracelet I feel like wearing that day and the tag stays on the inside of my wrist.
    And do emergency response personnel really know what to do with a type 1 diabetic? Will wearing a bracelet really make a difference?

    1. Tim Steinert
      Tim Steinert June 12, 2013 at 2:10 pm | | Reply

      Yes, Rachel, Emergency Medical Personnel are trained to know what to do for a Type 1 diabetic. They know that short-term, our biggest danger is a low blood sugar incident. And that if we are incapacitated, there would be two apparent reasons for us to be so (High or Low).

      I would like to hear, though, from an EMT or Emergency Room Doctor. Anyone out there?

  14. David
    David June 12, 2013 at 1:23 pm | | Reply

    Medical bracelets are not for me but I will consider it when they start implanting chips just like they do now for pets.

  15. Laddie
    Laddie June 12, 2013 at 3:31 pm | | Reply

    There is very little that we can control with Type 1 diabetes. One thing that we can control is wearing some sort of medical alert device. Not only will it help medical professionals; it can help us. I once had a severe low in public and couldn’t speak. But I was able to pull out my medical alert necklace and show the charm that specified that I had insulin-dependent diabetes.

    I now wear a bracelet from Lauren’s Hope. I get constant compliments on the bracelet, but no one has ever asked about the medic alert part of it.

    I wear mine 24/7/365. I wish that everything else with Type 1 was as easy.

  16. Terry Keelan
    Terry Keelan June 12, 2013 at 4:52 pm | | Reply

    I figure if I can fire my doctor, my doctor can fire me. But then, I’m fortunate to be able to choose my doctor. I hope there’s no doctor in a restricted market, e.g., where she’s the only endocrinologist around, who would refuse to treat a patient for this reason.

    In the end the bracelet is not directly helping with control or treatment of diabetes. It’s a precaution and good advice. But I don’t think it’s medical advice and I don’t think I should be considered ‘non-compliant’ if I don’t follow it. If I had vertigo my doctor might advise me to move to a home without stairs, but if she fired me for not moving . . . she’s a jerk.

  17. Tarra Robinson
    Tarra Robinson June 12, 2013 at 5:35 pm | | Reply

    I was one of those stories where I went low driving and got pretty beat up by the cops even though I was not resisting. I had bruises all over my body from being slammed around. I do wear my medical alert bracelets now like I did as a kid. Glad you are back to wearing one now.

  18. Julie Davey
    Julie Davey June 12, 2013 at 8:25 pm | | Reply

    I ordered a nice gold/silver tone bead bracelet from Sticky Jewelry and wore it 24/7 for quite a while, but I missed wearing my other fashion jewelry. So, I bought one to fit my Pandora bracelet and a small 1/2″ one that just has “diabetic” on the back. I put a lobster claw clasp on it, and now I can just attach it to almost anything. I also bought a silver bar so I can change it out for the “gold” one on my bead bracelet to better coordinate with my other stuff. I also have IDs with my medical info attached to my key ring and the zipper on a pocket in my purse. They have little accordion folded paper with my diagnoses and meds. I, too, thought about getting a tattoo on the back of my neck, but I’m a big chicken!

  19. Jay Kauffman
    Jay Kauffman June 12, 2013 at 8:53 pm | | Reply

    I have a medic alert necklace that I almost never take off. for the past 20 years. It’s usually not that visible, disappears under a shirt, but I assume or hope an emergency person would check for it.
    I wonder if I should update the info at medic alert, there are probably a few things that have changed.

  20. David Khorram
    David Khorram June 12, 2013 at 10:09 pm | | Reply

    Thanks for posting, Dan. The truth is, all of us fail to do things that we should do, and none of us wants to be fired for it. I’m a physician, and I don’t get my “required” five days of cardio per week that we all know reduces our cardiac risk. Not getting this excercise puts me at risk, just like not wearing a med alert bracelet puts you at risk. But we all fail in areas of our life, our health, every single day of our lives. The most knowledgeable amongst us refuses to do what is best.

  21. Julio Yohe
    Julio Yohe June 13, 2013 at 1:11 am | | Reply

    Hi Mike,

    I never tried any of those alert tags before I reached 30. I always take it for granted but as I grow older, I feel like it’s becoming a necessity. Diabetes must be taken seriously if I need to survive longer. This is the reality. Anyway, thanks for sharing.

  22. Joe
    Joe June 13, 2013 at 4:39 am | | Reply

    I wear one all the time due to the fact that I was goaded into it by husband who is an ex-EMT. :-)

    I’ve had a medic alert since 1999.

  23. Diana Lee
    Diana Lee June 13, 2013 at 5:08 am | | Reply

    Awesome article! ITA with your point this expert is right about the importance, but wrong to fire patients over it.

    I’m still in the noncompliant camp. I’m T2, but use insulin. I’m most definitely taking an unnecessary risk.

  24. RxMama2
    RxMama2 June 13, 2013 at 3:20 pm | | Reply

    I just received a medical ID bracelet. I ordered a beaded bracelet from MEDICALIDFASHIONS.COM and got a second waterproof bracelet. The owner is a cancer survivor and was very helpful getting ALL my medical needs on the front & back of the tag. If I have to wear medical hardware, it might as well be fashionable! She has men’s and women’s bracelets.

  25. Amy A
    Amy A June 14, 2013 at 5:19 am | | Reply

    My pump and CGM are my medic alert devices.

  26. Justin Black
    Justin Black June 14, 2013 at 10:24 am | | Reply

    Great Article! I was in the same boat as you for many years and always refused to get any type of medical alert id. But recently I had been convicted (with a little help from my girlfriend) to invest in my health and well being. So I also took the plunge and purchased a new medical id bracelet. My girlfriend found a very cool Bicycle Chain style medical id on MedicAlert. It’s cool, rugged, sporty and manly!
    http://www.medicalert.org/products/everybody/bicycle-chain-medical-id-bracelet-0

    Thanks!

  27. Corinne Ebbs
    Corinne Ebbs June 16, 2013 at 6:59 pm | | Reply

    Excellent comments and discussion! After 49 years of Type 1, I wear a MedicAlert ID on my wrist whenever I leave the house. That decision was made after I developed hypoglycemia unawareness in my late 20′s.

    As for advertising that I am a driver with Diabetes on my car, I will never do that because in my state, licenses can and often are revoked when there is any type of accident if a type 1 driver is found with a low BS. Imagine having your license revoked after getting through an accident because your BS drop DUE TO the accident — not as the cause of it. In such a case there could be long days ahead of court hearings and medical statements. I would advise against wearing your “non-compliant” bracelets while you are driving!

  28. StephenS
    StephenS June 17, 2013 at 7:54 am | | Reply

    I’ve had my MedicAlert chain around my neck for many years. It’s not always in plain view, but I busted the wristband I had so many times, and the only time I have to take this one off is to swim. Thanks for the post!

  29. Jim D
    Jim D June 21, 2013 at 2:03 pm | | Reply

    During a bad hypo. reaction the cops broke my rib and wrenched my back severely. They assumed I was drugged out.
    I probably didn’t obey their commands and became combative when they broke my car door and attempted to get me out of my parked car. Broken rib, swollen forehead, and a wrenched back. This story gets worse.
    I was wearing a ID necklace under my winter coat.
    Shortly thereafter I got a CGM! No hypos since.
    Civil litigation followed, successfully.
    I believe in wearing diabetic ID, especially if you have yet to receive a Continuous Glucose Monitor.

  30. Are YOU Wearing a Medical Alert? (Oops…I’m not!)

    [...] week, Mike Hoskins at DiabetesMine inspired me to fess [...]

  31. Mindy T
    Mindy T July 14, 2013 at 6:33 am | | Reply

    Thanks for sharing your story Dan. I don’t have diabetes but I do have ITP, a bleeding disorder, so I wear an Alert ID. Hopefully I’ll never run into your situation.

    Mindy

  32. Dave
    Dave August 1, 2013 at 1:37 am | | Reply

    I understand why you don’t want to be forced into wearing something you don’t want to – but surely Doctor Trippe also has the right to work with those patients he feels will suit his style of care.

    Maybe he has experience that says that those not wearing an Alert ID are more likely to follow other parts of his treatment.

    Anyway, thanks for sharing your story so eloquently.

  33. Bill Ster
    Bill Ster August 6, 2013 at 2:34 am | | Reply

    The problem is that we all need to work together to help people. Just like you would want your bracelet to be identified and taken into account in an emergency, maybe you also need to wear the bracelet?

    Nice story anyway :)

  34. Natali
    Natali September 15, 2013 at 9:59 am | | Reply

    hello! I am from Ukraine (sorry my English) and A want buy ID alert for my brother (type 1 diabetes). Where I can buy alert (picture one)? It’s very beautiful) thanks
    i not see its on Amazon…

  35. Mark
    Mark November 5, 2013 at 7:19 pm | | Reply

    I travel extensively and constantly wore a bracelet. However, I eventually just got it tattooed on my left wrist so I don’t have to think about it.

  36. Emma
    Emma February 27, 2014 at 9:36 am | | Reply

    I was wandering around the internet thinking about having to wear a medical alert bracelet at least for the next 6 months and came across your site. While I don’t have diabetes it was just found that I have multiple blood clots in both lungs, no reason as to how I got them and am on Heparin and Coumadin.

    I’m like you, I don’t like to wear things that announce my medical conditions. I do get embarrassed when my family brings up to their friends that I’m a cancer survivor or a disabled veteran because that’s not who I am, it’s just something I went through or am still going through.

    As for doctors threatening patients – it seems that many in the medical profession miss opportunities to open up dialogues with their patients. Instead of seeking to understand why a patient doesn’t want to run around with a pronounced label and come up with other methods it’s a threat. The Coumadin clinic I was placed into the VA gave me this contract to sign with a lot of threats on how I’ll lose my treatment. While it is important to be compliant on this therapy and follow through at the same time this is life saving therapy. Instead of explaining to the patient about concerns and wanting them to be safe, instead you get threats as though somehow patient will be more compliant when terrified.

    In many ways that seems to be how things are going, especially as doctors have less and less time to spend with patients. Scare them into doing the doctors way or just get rid of them. You’re right – who would want to see a doctor like that who probably won’t remember your name five minutes from now?

  37. Laurent
    Laurent July 31, 2014 at 2:59 am | | Reply

    Have a look at the Medical ID Android app. It enables quick access to vital information and emergency contacts. Besides, it is easy to use and well designed.

    https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=app.medicalid

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