Since my dLife article hit the page I have been getting e-mail after e-mail about people who have had their medic alert jewelry completely ignored, or reports of their loved ones being put in harms way due to their information being ignored, even when very clearly displayed.

It scares the crap out of me.

How can we protect ourselves?  How can we be sure that we won’t be put in harms way by the very people we are depending on to save us?

We have a lot of scenarios to think about.

1) We are unconscious – in this case I don’t know what more we can do besides wear our medic alert type jewelry or tattoo, and pray that we’ll be able to communicate when we wake up.

2) We are pulled over while driving – This is what happened to the poor chap I wrote about (video from CNN).  In his case his medic alert jewelry was not visible, which is a very likely situation for many of us (I wear my own necklace under my shirt, just like he did).  To help this I ordered some stickers (from D.A.D. Innovations) and applied them to a couple strategic places on my car (remember that your driver side front window may very well be rolled down to speak with the officer right?).

Picture of my car with two "Diabetic Driver" stickers on it

 

3) But what if I’m not in my car.  This is perhaps the most troubling scenario — where you are just acting downright nuts, unable to communicate that you need help.  Amy Tenderich at DiabetesMine.com covered a lot of ground with her posts about Doug Burns back in April of 2007.  She even started a huge dialogue about coming up with some “code word” that would be universally recognized and inform responders that we need help!

We have a tough problem to solve here.  There is a real conflict between our right to privacy and our possible need to let the world know we are diabetic when we’re unable to communicate for ourselves.

I’m sure there are many of you reading that would be quite uncomfortable putting stickers on your car, or wearing medic alert jewelry, broadcasting to anyone who can read that you are diabetic.  It is a very valid concern for those that don’t wish to be identified!

I guess I’d rather be identified at a glance than be blasted with a taser gun (or worse…).  But that’s just me, and I’m pretty “out there” with my diabetes anyway.

How can we protect ourselves?

This is a real problem that could make anyone who solves it both a hero and an instant millionaire.

8 Responses to Medic Alert Feedback and What Can We Do?

  1. deanusa says:

    sigh.scott when i was younger i was found unconsious by my mother who called the police who sent paramedics and then proceed to tell her that i was just drunk and passed out.needless to say she kinda went nuts on them until they did something.
    in my mid twenties i went “out” at work and was wearing a bracelet which they never looked at.it took my boss and another
    fellow diabetic to convince them that i just needed some of the good stuff!!
    other times they were perfect
    i dont think there is a easy answer.luck,skill,happenstance,knowledge,awareness who knows.

  2. rainbow_goddess says:

    I don’t have any problem letting others know I have diabetes, nor do I have a problem wearing Medic-Alert jewelry. My only problem is AFFORDING the jewelry. My bracelet broke months ago and I haven’t been able to afford to replace it.

  3. Jo Clutterbuck says:

    http://www.mediband.com.au/
    check out these guys, they make great bands that are cheap enough to buy in bulk and you can wear them in the water.

  4. Jill says:

    Scott~
    I got this from another blogger and I bookmarked it for future reference! I’m really thinking about ordering Kacey one or even making one myself with some velcro :) !
    http://www.topoftheline.com/medical-alert-seatbelt-tag.html
    Jill

  5. Rachel says:

    Wow, that is very scary! Tristan has a bracelet but if we were in an accident, would they even think of checking him for a bracelet?
    I hope that when Tristan is older, he will advertise that he is diabetic so that emergency personal will not have a problem knowing that he could possible need medical assistance. But I can also understand the need for privacy.
    I was actually aware of this problem after I read the story about the former Mr. Universe and a diabetic episode…http://www.diabeteshealth.com/read/2008/12/17/5081/mr–universe-assaulted-by-police-during-low-blood-sugar-episode/
    Hopefully, somebody will come up with a great idea to make these situations disappear! :)

  6. Tim McClintock says:

    Scott, see this discussion about “ICE” numbers in our cell phones I started here:
    http://tudiabetes.com/forum/topics/do-you-have-an-ice-in-case-of
    It’s one small thing we can do to potentially help with the unconscious issue.

  7. Sara says:

    I had never see the seatbelt tag that Jill linked. That looks like a good idea. They are pretty cheap too. I am ordering one now.

  8. Thomas Donald says:

    approx 18 mnths ago i was arrested by two of scotlands finest police (nazi) officers on leaving my local bar which is less than 100 mtrs from my flat .their reason (excuse) was that i was drunk and incapable.i had only nipped out to my local in my slippers for 2 or 3 beers and on my way back home i was arrested less than 50 mtrs from my home.iwas taken to a police station almost 12 km away instead of a local station.i tried to explain that i was diabetic and was way overdue my medication and that would explain why i was so unsteady on my feet while walking home from my local bar and was in no way drunk and incapable as the 2 policemen had claimed.all this fell on deaf ears and i was locked in a cell overnight and released early next morning, wearing only a short sleeved shirt and carpet slippers i had to get 2 buses to travel the 12 km home. THIS IS 1 OF MANY REASONS WHY THE PUBLIC HAVE SUCH A DEEP MISTRUST OF POLICE.

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