This could happen to you ...

By MAYS Latest Reply 2010-12-24 07:02:24 -0600
Started 2010-12-22 13:54:54 -0600

In 2007, Doug Burns, the reigning Mr. Universe, was severely beaten by police at a movie theater when they mistook an episode of low blood sugar for intoxication.

The unfortunate incident emphasized the need for police officers and security personnel to be trained in how to distinguish between hypoglycemia and intoxication; however, it also pointed up the need for individuals to identify their medical condition to first responders.

As an athlete, Burns is disciplined and precise about managing his blood sugar level, so if a debilitating hypoglycemic reaction could happen to him, it can happen to anyone.

Rather than gamble with your health and hope for the best, taking pro-active measures such as wearing a medical id bracelet is essential for a person with diabetes, since symptoms of hypoglycemia mimic other problems.

It takes courage and endurance to live with a chronic illness. And one step toward responsible management of diabetes is to wear Medical ID jewelry.

When choosing a medical id, it's important to consider emergency personnel’s standard operating practices.

If a person is unconscious, paramedics are trained to perform a primary head-to-toe check for blocked airways and pulse. This initial check includes a hand check of the wrists and neck. Sometimes, paramedics may check a person’s wallet for a medical card; however, treating wounds is immediate, and rummaging through a wallet is often a practice of last resort, or completely overlooked.

Therefore, a medical id bracelet or medical alert pendant should be worn as an everyday accessory.


14 replies

Pam S
Pam S 2010-12-24 07:02:24 -0600 Report

since I have had that issue myself..not beaten…but thought to be intoxicated..i do have a medical alert bracelet and stickers on my car windows, but i never thought of a tatoo…i may give that one more thought…

waricks 2010-12-23 05:35:14 -0600 Report

I have been thinking about this as well. My problem is I can't stand to wear anything around my neck or wrists, I don't even like to wear my wedding ring. I also do not always have my wallet on me but I am trying to do that more since I do have a card in there that lists all my meds and such. I am considering a simple tattoo on my left wrist that will, hopefully, alert somebody to my condition. Anybody else have a tattoo?

GabbyPA 2010-12-23 10:54:56 -0600 Report

There are a few people here who have a tattoo. I have been considering it, as that way if you are in a accident or loose your ID, you still have a way for them to know if you are not able to tell them.

adhddad 2010-12-22 21:09:56 -0600 Report

My medic alert necklace has saved me from humiliation at the hands of over zealous, under-trained police on a couple of occasions. They are fairly cheep and available at all the drug stores, at least up here they are.

Elrond 2010-12-22 20:59:21 -0600 Report

Although I wasn't beaten, I had a problem a couple years ago. I was out running errands when I suddenly realized that my sugar was very low and I didn't have any glucose tabs with me. I pulled into a supermarket, intent on getting chocolate milk, my treatment of choice. (I wasn't thinking very clearly by now) I decided to use one of those little electric carts the store provided in order to reduce burning sugar. Of course, I got lost on the way to the dairy section and found myself wandering through the asiles. A woman noticed my distress and asked if I needed help but by then I was unable to communicate. A store employee called 911 and the medical equivalent of the Keystone Cops arrived. They found my necklace proclaiming me to be a diabetic heart patient and proceeded to hook me up to an EKG monitor while forcing tube after tube of glucose gel into my mouth. They hooked up a dextrose IV. I always have an abnormal EKG because of my previous heart attack so they didn't like what they saw. And my blood sugar wasn't coming up fast enough to suit them so they kept forcing glucose into my mouth. By now, I was feeling much better and insisting they leave me alone but they continued unnecessary and unwanted 'treatment'. I'm a VA patient and don't have other medical insurance but they insisted on taking me to the nearest hospital where I was examined then released without treatment because the heart condition is already being treated and I can handle the blood sugar of 460 on my own. Now, that same ambulance company has turned me over to a collection agency because I refuse to pay them. Next time, please shoot me.

jayabee52 2010-12-22 15:29:45 -0600 Report

Howdy Mays.
There's been another recent discussion about Medic-alert Jewelery here:

I have not in all the years I've been a PWD had a Medic alert ID. I am seriously considering getting one. My problem is that I have so many medical "challenges" that I would run out of room to engrave on. I'm thinking about a USB ID tag, if I can find one that is completely waterproof (not merely water resistant). (Suggestions, anyone? - anyone use a USB medic alert? Would love to hear of your experience with it!)

I undoubtedly SHOULD get a medic alert of some kind. But I want one which I don't have to get a new one (like my Jem had to) every time I get a new Dx. The USB seems to me the best answer to that.

Anyone have any experience with a USB medic alert system?



Elrond 2010-12-22 20:36:45 -0600 Report

I have a USB device on a necklace and store all my medical info on it. A few months ago, I had a minor cardiac episode and my roommate called 911. When they arrived, they asked about the meds I take. Because I take 28 pills per day for various conditions, there's no way I can memorize them all so I handed them my USB device. They merely looked at it and shrugged. They had no idea how to use it. Fortunately, I keep a backup paper list in my wallet. The cardiac episode resolved on its own, no thanks to the 'heroes' in the ambulance.

MAYS 2010-12-22 16:43:01 -0600 Report

James, as always, thank you for the link.

I currently use a usb medic alert bracelet, I love the amount of information, as well as the ability to include my photograph with my personal data.
I also wear a basic "diabetic" necklace, I have no issues, or shame with identifying myself as a diabetic, as I am finding out that many people do, (my life may depend on it).

There are so many different methods of identifying yourself as a diabetic, whatever your method of choice (bracelet, pendant, dog tag, card), get one.

As with everything, each type has its pros, and cons.
I understand your concern about lack of space, that's why my pendant states "Info on Wallet Card & USB Bracelet."

This is the one that I currently use:

jayabee52 2010-12-22 19:53:27 -0600 Report

Thanks Mays. I am concerned about the system being waterproof (not merely water resistant). I have been around water a lot and would hate if all the data would be shorted out by water.

I have no trouble self identifying as a person with diabetes, as I don't feel it stigmatizes me.

I did read some of the reviews of the USB devices. One stated that the concept was great, but when needed it was not useful due to the EMTs didn't have a computer available, and the ER refused to put it into their computers since they were afraid of computer viruses.

CaliKo 2010-12-22 15:40:35 -0600 Report

One thing the site I ordered from yesterday suggested for people with multiple conditions, allergies and/or meds is to list major concerns and then a line that reads something like "See card in wallet" for complete details. You could also use that approach to just update the wallet card info without having to change the ID so often.

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