Monday, November 20, 2006

Holidays on "ICE"

Today, I learned about MedicAlert bracelets being offered to all children in Canada for free. For those unfamiliar with the MedicAlert bracelets, these are handy bracelets or necklaces used to notify Emergency or law enforcement personnel about important medical conditions or allergies in the event of an emergency. The bracelet contains relevant medical information on the "dog-tag" like necklace or bracelet. The only problem with these is that once they are printed, they are tough to modify. To counter this, they now have a MedicAlert "E-Health Key" (basically a USB thumb drive) which has been introduced that can carry much more information that can be modified on one's computer. For an annual fee, there is also a 24-hour service to notify EMS and law enforcement vital medical information or your family. We have historically encouraged our patients with pacemakers and defibrillators, or those on anticoagulation medications like warfarin (Coumadin), to have one of these. But now, we also might offer another suggestion.

What I'm thinking about is making sure every puts their Holidays (and Cell Phones) on "ICE." No, I'm not suggesting everyone go out and buy the new David Sedaris book by the same title as this post (although it is a funny read about dysfunctional families at holiday time). No, it's much more practical and virtually free.

With the near ubiquitous availability of cell phone's in many of today's children and adults (at least in much of the US), a similar readily-available means of medical information and contact information could also be achieved using an entry called "ICE," In Case of Emergency, on your child or loved one's cell phone. Enter your number for emergency contact information, and under, say, "ICE-2" you could place your child's allergies and under "ICE-3" your child's medications. With the cell phone idea, your information can be easily updated, and will not cost additional money and ER personnel are making it a habit to check the phone's address book for an ICE entry.

So if you don't register for a MedicAlert bracelet and notification service, consider updating your cell phone today. It could just save a life - even yours.


For disclosure, I have no conflict of interest with Amazon, MedicAlert services or products, or David Sedaris.

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