Medical alert jewelry

This is a new comment on an old question on this site: should you wear a medical alert bracelet to tip off strangers in case of an emergency? 

Of course. Why not? I consulted with EMTs in my city and they also advised against using charms and decorative pendants with that item because it can then resemble jewelry rather than medical info.

Mine states coumadin, pacemaker, my name, my daughter's contact and the name of the hospital that has my records. It is visible but not over-bearing, and I consider it to be extra insurance for my life.

Why wouldn't someone do this? It makes sense. It's just one more item of self-preservation.



by charlene - 2019-09-24 12:43:51

I wear a medical cuff/bracelet with certain  meds and pacemaker information because. 1} If I am involved in an accident and am bleeding, I can bleed to death because I take anticoagulant medicine; 2) if an EMT feels it necessary to shock me, given that I am wearing a pacemaker, it would kill me if it were not administered correctly for a pacemaker patient. 3) I want a first responder to know whom to call.

I feel that it isn't a privacy issue when my very life is at stake.

PS: No one, to date has asked me what my medical problems are.

Understand well that these are my reasons and mine alone. 

I thank you for the opportunity to respond to your comment. 

Anti-coagulants are possibly more important for the EMTs to know about

by crustyg - 2019-09-24 13:02:00

When I was fully anti-coagulated with apixaban I always carried my little card *and* the tablet blister pack with me, especially when cycling.  Having come off my bike at speed before anti-coag and slid across two lanes of a busy road I want folk to think 'he's bleeding a lot, I wonder why' and start looking in my pockets and wallet.

And I have an ICE card with me too.  Good for them to know where to send the benefits.

But it's a personal choice.  And over here, the famous British reserve kicks in - I could see my swimming chums notice the PM pocket on my chest, but not ask about it!

Better safe than . . .

by Violet West - 2019-09-24 13:53:31

I've worn my bracelet for 11 months.  Not one person has noticed or commented.   The contact/condition info is on the reverse side of the medallion, so is not visible.  Short of someone grabbing one's wrist and flipping the jewelry over, no one will be able to see the info.

So, privacy is really not really a concern.  Having this info available to emergency personnel matters more. 

Medic alert

by AgentX86 - 2019-09-24 14:27:45

I wear both a bracelet and dog tag with my more important medical information (Eliquis, pacemaker dependent, AV dyssynchrony,...). Not only do I want an EMT to know what has to be done but what not to waste time on (my heartbeat is normally whacked, fix something else).

I generally tuck my dog tag inside my shirt but it has escaped before and have been asked about the "pacemaker dependent" label on the front. I'm a little surprised when it happens but not embarrassed. So what?

In the gym, a few have asked about my sternotomy and PM scars, too. Again,  so what?

medic alerts

by Tracey_E - 2019-09-24 14:52:55

I used to be diligent about wearing one but mostly I don't wear it because I'm lazy and don't regularly wear any jewelry except my wedding ring and watch. As soon as I sit down at the computer, a bracelet gets on my nerves so I take it off. I always have a pile of jewelry on my computer lol. 

I have pretty ones in a wide assortment of colors and styles, because I know me and that's what I'm more likely to wear. They aren't so decorative that they'd be missed by an EMT, but they don't stand out as medical either. NStyle and Laurens Hope are my favorites. You know, when I remember to wear them. 

Mine have PACEMAKER  and a phone number/password to get to my full medical history in my online medical record. This way I don't need a new one every time a prescription changes. 

I have ICE in my contacts as well as the emergency info filled out on my phone and EMS would know how to access that. That's part of why I'm not as diligent as I used to be, it's rare I'm without my phone on me if outside the house. 

medical alerts

by Heartthrob - 2019-09-24 16:30:57

No one has in four years of wearing this bracelet asked me about it, and I'm out and about and traveling and meeting new people all the time. I'd just tell them it has my emergency contacts.

I agree fully with Charlene: "1} If I am involved in an accident and am bleeding, I can bleed to death because I take anticoagulant medicine; 2) if an EMT feels it necessary to shock me, given that I am wearing a pacemaker, it would kill me if it were not administered correctly for a pacemaker patient. 3) I want a first responder to know whom to call."

But it's interesting to see all views. 



by Tracey_E - 2019-09-24 18:13:13

A first responder will know where to put the pads to do a shock. It's even part of training for a layperson doing a CPR class, pads can't go on top of the pacer. The pads wouldn't normally go where the pacer is anyway, one goes on the side of the chest along the ribs, the other goes in the center so the heart is in the middle, but classes cover what to do if you see signs of a pacer where you want to put the pads. Not trying to talk you out of wearing your alert, just letting you know that's not something to worry about.


by Heartthrob - 2019-09-24 21:42:37

Oh, I'm not worried, I just want anyone who finds me to have as much info as possible. For me, it's far more important that they know whi I am and that I am on a blood thinner and which one.


Alert Jewelry

by donr - 2019-09-25 13:52:00

Interesting 2019 discussion.  Wonderful thoughts about how useful alert gizmos are.  My experience in June 2007 after an auto accident that took me to a trauma hosp for treatment.

Took a Jeep Cherokee broadside into the door pillar right behind my right shoulder.  I was a passenger.  Last thing I saw before contact was the hood emblem coming at me.  The car was so mangled they had to tear it apart to get me out.  Emt's suspected a broken neck, broken ribs, concussion , strapped to a back board to transport me.  Severe pain breathing.   Sometime after a half hour I was on a bed in the ER & they were about to cut my shirt off.  By now I had been to X-Ray for a CT scan, been seen for cursory exam, given Morphine - I think - Was half drunk from something.  ER Doc looks down at me & says "Hi - how are we doing today?"    To which I responded "Sh....Y, Doc, what would you expect?"  After a good laugh, the tech cutting my shirt off, sees my dog tag & asks "Well, look at this - what do we have here?  Oh, he has a pacemalker & is on Coumadin."  I also had a wallet card.  I'm really not sure how coherent I was through all this, but I'm sure I mentiioned PM & Coumadin during the entire encounter at least once.

Now, realize that no EMT in their right mind would roll me over to fish in my back pocket for a wallet card - just too dangerous.  But to look at a wrist or for a dog tag or to ASK the patient would be reasonable.   But EMT's have to be trained to do it on a regular basis.  In short, we can have them, but if the medical emergency community isn't alert/aware of the problem & search out such info, it does no good to have them. 

Consider the problem - there are  millions of PM hosts in the world, & especially in the western world.  But there are BILLIONS of total population,  Our percentage  of that number is actually quite small.  Those of us who host PM's are quite aware of our situation, & of that for all the silent hosts, who don't really seem interested.  There are some 30,000 plus of us who populate this site.  That's a BIG number, but very small when compared to the rest of the world.  Let me place this in perspective.  How many of you have ever heard of a condition called "Fuch's Dystrophy"?  Not very many, is my guess.  Not very many medical professionals have, either.  It's an eye condition inherited that can make you eventually be nearly blind.   So try getting medical office personnel to ask patients about it - darned near impossible.

I worked as practice manager for my primary care physician daughter for several years.  Out of over 1200 patients, she had only 6 patients who had PM's.  That's less than  .6% - a puny percentage.  I tried vigorously to get our appointment maker to ask several simple questions of every patient for initial notes so Daughter could see what patients needed - High Blood Pressure? Asthma?  Diabetes? PM.   You'd think I was pulling teeth with the kitchen drawer pliers to get that basic info on new patients. (I kept the teeth in my top desk drawer.)

I think that such jewelry is great stuff, but think we can get emergency responders to ask or search for the stuff, we are pushing a very large boulder up a very steep hill.







EMTs and Medic alert

by AgentX86 - 2019-09-25 15:06:25

EMTs *ARE* trained to look for medic alert jewellery. They're also trained in emergency medicine but that doesn't mean that they're all competent. It's not about asking the entire population about every strange and unusual disease but looking for obvious clues about the _one_ you're responsible for right now. If he's gone out of his way to tell you something important and you can't be bothered to listen, you need to find another line of work. Malpractice.

Medical alerts

by Heartthrob - 2019-09-25 18:04:46

Donr, so glad you survive what sounds like a nightmare. Wonderful!

But I'm amazed that at a trauma hospital, which should be prepared and aware of all eventualities, your shirt was not cut off BEFORE your CTscan. How did that happen??? That seems unfortunate. What if they'd given you a non-compliant MRI? I cannot have an MRI in a regular model, and that's according to the device maker and two teaching hospitals.

So, many of you do not want to wear an alert and that's how you should proceed. But I will, because it adds a microcosm of insurance to my most important policy, which is my life.

I cannot control whether or not a medic looks at my wrist or whether or not a hospital does. But I can use every ounce of my intelligence to do the best I can, whatever else may happen

Donr, you write: "In short, we can have them, but if the medical emergency community isn't alert/aware of the problem & search out such info, it does no good to have them."

Then why should we wear a seatbelt when there are drunks on the road who can smash us to smithereens, or why get a vaccination when one may never encounter the flu or measles? Why buy dental insurance if you may never need a filling or root canal? And on and on and on.

Because we only have power over what WE can do, not what others do or may happen.

AgentX86, malpractice. I agree!

What anyone on this site can do is write a letter to the local newspaper, is one still exists, about the need to look for medical alerts, or call your local emergerncy providers. Be proactive.


by ROBO Pop - 2019-09-25 21:50:40

Great input on this topic as is usual for you.

Last time I had a party to entertain paramedics, I was in awe of the celebrities in my midst and couldn't quite bring myself to respond to their queries. In other words I just looked at them with not a clue.

After having struggled with my vitals and scratching their collective heads, they figured out I was artificially paced. They then informed me I should wear a medic alert tag. Most importantly it should state that am paced 100%. An EKG of someone paced by artificialdissemination can be quite confusing for first responders.

Anyway I've worn a dog tag since. If they don't ask, I don't tell, but they can always check. Yah got nothing to lose by wearing one


by donr - 2019-09-26 02:07:32

I blew it in my last para & didn't proofread it asfter posting to edit.  Last para for reference: "I think that such jewelry is great stuff, but think we can get emergency responders to ask or search for the stuff, we are pushing a very large boulder up a very steep hill."   Here's what I meant to say:  I think that such jewelry is great stuff, but think that until we can  get emergency responders to ask FOR or search for the stuff, we are pushing avery large boulder up a very steep hill.    A few missing words totally changed the entire context.  Further - NO WAY do I suggest we give up pushing the boulder - i'm just highlightinmg thechallenges we face.   It must be done.  What I am saying, NOT suggesting, is that everyone in the emergency response business should be aware of the need to examine their patients for ANY medical data on the body.  No one checked me till I was being prepped for thorough examination & then it was a total accident that they found ny dog tag.  It had slipped into my left armpit & the tech only found it by accident.,she was NOT searching for it.

After I got out of the trauma center 12 days later, I went to see my Cardio.  When he found out what happened to me, I had to drag him down from the ceiling, where he had gone to swat flies - he was THAT angry,.  I did not realize it till then, bu they did not have a single cardio check my PM.  There was not even a note in my file that I had one.  Further, when he had an echo done, he didcovered that I now had a small aneurysm in my Aorta - that I did NOT have before the accident.  Several months later, I was visiting my ER Doc daughter & found an interesting book in her bookcase.  It was entitled "Radiography and ER Trauma Medicine," or some such thought.  I flipped through it & it stated that for any thoracic trauma that an X-Ray of the chest should be made specifically to determine if any aneurysms had resulted.  I had a CT of the chest & apparently it was missed.  Apparently a good X-Ray should be able to show that. 

A further damning comment - when they placed my on the back board, they strapped my down very tightly at the knees.  It took a little Airborne Soldier amd/or Marine descriptive adjectives and adverbs to get their attention and have a blanket placed beneath my knees to ease the mack pain.    I asked my B-i-L about that after the event (He' was an EMT in Miami)  He told me you never strap down knees w/o support beneath them.  

Overall, it was NOT a sterling  performance for me.  My cardio gave birth to a full-grown Texad longhorn steer when he heard all that had happened to me.  On the side, his head nurse confided that the hosp I was taken to did not have a good reputation., but at the time there was no real option to the place they took me - for my condition, any alternatives were too far.  This was all 12 years ago.  I'm still here & a pretty tough old bird of 83 yrs & 364 days.


Heartthrob ; We all have different levels of risk-acceptance !

by IAN MC - 2019-09-26 04:51:20

 I think it was Woody Allen who  said he wouldn't risk jogging in case he got hit by an asteroid.

As a PM recipient , who is not on blood-thinners, I would need lots of convincing to bother with Medical Alert jewellery. I just don't think the level of risk justifies it.

  Where does it all end, ?  You could argue that anyone who takes ANY prescription medicine should wear an illuminated bracelet. at all times . All drugs should be listed  ..... "just in case."..... .".better be safe than sorry " etc

Best never to go out really in case a runaway truck hits you.

If I lived in the USA I would be tempted to wear a bullet-proof vest at all times because  my perceived risk of getting shot would be high .

We all see risk differently and each need to make our own decisions in life. I am very happy with my decision not to use Medic alert bracelets etc.

I believe that a poll done by the PM club  showed that slightly over half of PM recipients feel the same way as myself.


p.s.  hang on,  is that a truck coming towards me ?


Medic Alert saves lives!!

by ole bill - 2019-09-26 08:17:22

Ive been an EMT in Virginia, since 1973.  Now retired, I work part-time (32hrs/wk) for Hospital Medical Transport!!

Medic Alert items have saved thousands of lives over the years.

YES, i wear one.

Medical alert jewellery

by AgentX86 - 2019-09-26 08:24:47

If $10-$35 is going to ruin you financially, how do you afford you Internet connection? Getting shot isn't a huge problem in the USA, at least in the places you're allowed to shoot back. Criminals have a very wide yellow streak.

Medical alert jewelry

by Heartthrob - 2019-09-26 10:26:43

I've now moved from being curious about opinions to being amused.

Have a bracelet engraved for 30 bucks, slipping it on, leaving it on and forgetting it for four years seems like non-fertile ground for such resistance! Lol. But everyone's different.

I'll go with the experience of an EMT, ole Bill, who's worked in the field for decades and has seen medical alert items save thousands of lives. I'm on a blood thinner and want anyone responding to know what kind, since some do not respond to normal intervention. It's that simple. No over-thinking, no major UN meeting to decide, just commonsense.

It's not even about worrying about risk. I hike alone in woods, I drive long distances without cell service, I'm kind of an explorer and adventurer, and this just adds a bit of insurance.

Those who don't wish to wear one, shouldn't wear one. Just don't. 

But I've worn mine at work, at the gym, at dinner parties, at dances; it's just there... in case. 


This caught my eye ...

by Violet West - 2019-09-26 12:39:28

from Robo Pop's post:  "Most importantly it should state that am paced 100%."

I am.  But my bracelet just indicates a pacemaker.  How important is this? Do I need to add?

Also, it states "blood thinner" -- I am on Xarelto - is it important to state which bloodthinner?

Let me know what you think. May need to order new jewelry! 


by IAN MC - 2019-09-26 13:06:16

If I were taking blood thinners ( which I'm not )  I would definitely want the emergency medics to know which one.

Different blood-thinners have different antidotes to stop uncontrolled bleeding . While Xarelto ( rivaroxaban ) and Eliquis ( apixaban ) have the same antidote, Andexxin .  other blood-thinners e'g warfarin need a different drug to stop the bleeding. It is essential to be given the right antidote !

If I were you I would state that you take Xarelto on whatever communication method you use.

This is probably more important than the fact that you are PM-dependent but ideally you need to convey both facts.











Which anticoagulant

by AgentX86 - 2019-09-26 13:37:53

Yes, it's important to specify which one. It's unlikely that an EMT would administer a reversal agent for any of them (it's simply not going to happen for any of the NOACs) but they need to know what they're dealing with. There may also be an issue down the road with continuing it. Also, if you have anything unique, like an isolated LAA, that might be needed information (do not discontinue anticoagulants).

Being paced at 100% isn't critically important information but being dependent is, IMO. Even at 100%, you'll survive if something happens to your PM.

which anti-coagulant

by Heartthrob - 2019-09-26 17:05:40

Fully agree with others above on identifying the type of blood thinner. Mine states "Coumadin."

(I wonder, Ian, if you then bother with seatbelts? Far more intrusive than a bracelet.) 



Which anti-coagulant

by Heartthrob - 2019-09-26 17:07:49

Donr, sorry for all you've been through. This did make me laugh: "My cardio gave birth to a full-grown Texas longhorn steer when he heard all that had happened to me." Quite the picture. 

Heartthrob - You should have been there the day...

by donr - 2019-09-27 22:54:07

... we started talking about the range of Ringhals Cobras in South Africa!

Present in his janitor's closet cum exam room were Dr H, Me, Wife, head nurse, scribe nurse & two Medtronic Reps.  For a vacation, he & his wife were doing a safari to South Africa.  I asked that he never take his glasses off.  He asked me why.  I told him that was home to the Ringhals (Spitting Cobra) that enerringly ejects venom about 6-8 feet at the eyes of threats.   - I didn't want him to be lost as my cardio to blindness.  The crowd thought I was nuts.  He argued that the Ringhals didn't inhavit that area.  He came back OK.  Never ran into any snakes at all.   BTW - I wnn thew argument, he confirmed.

He sold his practice to a major hospital.  Cardiology is now purely cardiology.  Booooooooring! Nothing interesting any more.


I shall definitely get one.... eventually

by atiras - 2019-09-29 08:58:59

I fully intend to get some sort of alert.... eventually! When I work out what's comfortable and won't get forgotten -- and won't be irresitible to the cats in the middle of the night (can't leave it on the bedside table -- Boycat will have it away -- he'll try even if it's round my neck or wrist -- see: rubber ducks from bathroom on hall floor, and sink stopper in bed.).

In the meantime, I refuse to leave the house and have posted a large notice in the hall for the paramedics when they come in. Plus one in front of each pair of patio doors, and the backdoor...

No seriously, I plan to put the following on my alert (if it will fit):

Pacemaker (100% paced); Blood thinners (Xarelto); Anaphylaxis of unknown origin; Notice of Advance Decision; Indoor cats will need feeding!

Plus of course emergency contacts if they don't shuffle off before me.

Best hope I don't acquire anything else that needs a warning!

It's all in my purse and will be on my phone (when I can work out where it goes on this new damned thing -- ICE doesn't seem to esist in the Contacts list). But belt and braces!


Medical ID Bracelet

by Susand - 2019-09-30 11:07:41

After I recevied my pacemaker in Nov. of 2008 my husband bought me a bracelet.  It did have the red medical emblem on the front and said pacemaker on the back.  I wore it for a very long time.  In March of 2010 I was in a serious car accident, I was at a dead stop waiting on traffic to clear so I could turn left (busy highway).  I happened to look up to my rearview mirror and saw a car approaching very fast.  Before I had a chance to do anything I was hit from behind, they were going approximately 60/65 mph.  Bent the framework of my blazer and totaled it out.  When the ambulance arrived, I was having serious back pain, they never once checked my ID bracelet.  The EMT kept mentioning my heartrate was in the 40's which I told him that's not possible for it to go under 60.

I've also had a couple trips to the ER and not once nurse or doctor ever asked about it.  I stopped wearing it.  What's the point if it's not noticed or asked about?

This is just my personal experience and opinion.

Medic alert ignored

by AgentX86 - 2019-09-30 13:32:16

From what you've said, I assume you were conscious and coherent when the paramedics arrived. If so, could give them more information than was on your bracelet. The idea of the jewellery is to speak for you if you can't.

Coherent? HA!

by donr - 2019-10-02 12:45:43

Just because you are apparently coherent doesn't mean a thing.  I thought I was coherent after my auto accident, but  in retrospect, I don't think anyone listened to me.  That Medical ID device could well contain info critical to carre.  Searching for a purse or fishing around in a victim's back pocket for a card/Etc  is foolish.  For a spinal injury potential, the wallet search could well cause further injury, perhaps fatal.  Rooting through a purse coulkd lead to legal ramifications (Like theft accusations).   A wrist or a neck is easily accessed to look for Medikcal alert info.  Also the most likely place to find it.  Aty least if you find it you know where to start with questions.    My complaint is that Medics DON'T LOOK!  The Boy Scouts teach basic first aid as "Stop bleeding, clear the airway, treat for shock."  Add #4 - LOOK FOR MEDIC ALERT jewelry. 







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