Medic Alert Feedback and What Can We Do?

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 (site/link currently not working properly)) 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.

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Scott K. Johnson

Patient voice, speaker, writer, advocate. Living life with diabetes and telling my story. Patient Success Manager, USA for mySugr (All opinions expressed are my own and do not necessarily represent the position of my employer).

Diagnosed in April of 1980, I recognize the incredible mental struggle of living with diabetes. Read more…