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Dec 17, 2018 06:45AM
Put it on the affected arm.
I am a firefighter/paramedic, and if I took that arm for a blood pressure or IV, I would see it there as I am grabbing the arm to put the BP cuff on or look for an IV site...even if you forgot to tell me. If it is on a necklace, I might not see it. Make it an obvious medic alert bracelet, and do not have 10 other watches and bracelets on that arm. It will get hidden by them, and no provider is going to sift through 10 bracelets to see if one happens to be a medical alert tag...... not because we are lazy, but if the situation is that critical that we'd need to know and you could not tell us, we'll be very busy doing and assessing other things to figure out and treat what's wrong.
I have been in EMS for over 20 years, and even with a mom who had lymphedema from BC, I did not understand the reasons until I was affected with BC (my mom really was not told to avoid that arm for things, nor was my mother-in-law who is also affected). It is not something routinely taught in most EMS curricula for EMTs or paramedics, though I do think it is getting more attention now than it had in the past. I was asked many times to avoid an arm, and always honored it...obviously I still do!
I have also had many nurses I've had to remind. As much as I would like everyone to just "know", I consider it my responsibility to remind them because ultimately it'll be me who could potentially suffer if a mistake is made.
Make sure your family members know so they can alert medical personnel as well. The bracelet serves this purpose well. Understand that providers will do everything they can to honor that, but in a life or death situation, sometimes they'll have to use the arm. I can think of only one time in 30 years I have had to do this.
Honestly, I would just put the info on the bracelet. You probably do not need to subscribe. I have in 30 years of EMS, never called that number to get the info. I am sure others have, but in cases where it would have been helpful, the person did not have a bracelet, and in cases where someone had a bracelet, I always had family there, or their info was in their phone. Remember that you can put emergency health info in your phone and that responders can access it without your phone code with most phones (on mine, you just hit home to unlock, hit "emergency", and then "medical ID" in the corner.) When I have an unconscious person who does not have a bracelet, this is the first thing I'll look for.
Hopefully this is helpful for some of you.
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