How to Engrave Your Medical ID

How to Engrave your medical IDAfter spending a week in the hospital, whether or not I needed to wear a medical ID bracelet was the last thing on my mind when I was finally discharged. In a matter of days, my entire world was turned upside down when I was diagnosed with blood clots in my leg (DVT or deep vein thrombosis) and lung (PE or pulmonary embolism).

I was worried about the new job I was supposed to start, what an INR was, when I could run again. I also wondered why this happened when I was doing my best to take care of myself for first time in my entire adult life. I felt scared, alone, sad, overwhelmed and I decided it would just be better for me to stay indoors rather than worry about what would happen outside where I could fall and hit my head on concrete or – my worst fear – get in a car accident. It was then that I realized that without a medical ID, no one would be able to help me if one of these accidents occurred.

Why You Need a Medical ID if You are Taking Blood Thinners

Blood thinning medications or anticoagulants save lives because they treat or prevent potentially life-threatening blood clots. However, they also pose one possible and very serious side effect: Bleeding. Since blood thinners slow the clotting of blood, unwanted and sometimes dangerous bleeding can occur with the use of these medications – especially with a fall, a head injury or a traumatic accident.

A medical ID or medical alert bracelet or necklace is a very important tool that could save your life in an emergency situation. If you are ever hurt or injured – and not able to speak for yourself – a medial ID may be the only way first responders or doctors know how to begin treating you. If you are taking blood thinners – especially warfarin for which vitamin K exists to slow or reverse bleeding – medical professionals need to know immediately. If you are taking a new oral anticoagulant  for which there are no reversal agents,  doctors still need to know so they can care for you to the best of their abilities.

How to Engrave Your Medical ID

Medical IDs do not need to be elaborate and must be able to convey life-saving information as quickly and clearly as possible. A medical ID must be immediately recognizable as a medical ID – if it’s too pretty or cute, it might not get notice in an emergency.

Information that should be included on your medical ID (in order of importance or room you have to engrave):
  • Specific name of the medication(s) you are taking that affect life-saving treatments (i.e. anticoagulants, heart medications, aspirin, insulin, etc.)
  • Allergies (especially to medications like penicillin)
  • Whether or not you are diabetic
  • Name
Information that can also be included on a medical ID:
  • History of medical conditions (i.e. DVT, PE, heart attack, stroke)
  • Date of birth
  • Doctor name and phone number
  • Emergency contact name and phone number
  • Your address
  • Your phone number
  • Your blood type
Where to Get Your Medical ID

There are countless places to order a medical ID. They range in price from free (a wallet card or mobile app) to a few dollars (i.e. silicone bands) to hundreds of dollars (i.e. gold charms and bracelets). Here are a few of my favorites:

  • BCRN’s Shop on Amazon – My shop has some of my personal recommendations for a variety of styles (not personalized), for almost any budget, including silicone IDs that are great for quick ID and outdoor activities.
  • American Medical ID – A variety of styles, which you can personalize with your information, and prices. I wear an American Medical ID daily. Read my complete review of my American Medical ID here.
  • Road ID – Perfect for sports and outdoor activities, and displays a lot of information.
  • My MedicAlert Foundation – A classically designed medical ID that comes with a virtual subscription to a 24/7 Live Emergency Response Team for delivering accurate and clear health information securely to first responders and healthcare professionals during an emergency. This is where I ordered the medical ID that I wear when a lot when traveling.
  • Stay safe on the go with the Road ID mobile medical ID
  • You can also carry important medical information on a written or typed card in your wallet
  • You can order medical IDs from pharmacies
Medical ID Quick Tips
  • Be specific in what you engrave on your medical ID. An ID that says “blood thinner,” “anticoagulant,” “medical condition” or just displays a medical or red cross symbols is not specific enough.
  • Your ID, at a minimum, must say what anticoagulant you are on.
  • Make sure your medical ID looks like a medical ID. The purpose is functionality, not fashion.
  • You can carry multiple ID’s. I have one that I wear (bracelet or necklace), one on my keychain and the mobile app on my phone.
  • More reasons why you should wear a medical ID.

Share your story. Do you wear a medical ID? Are you planning on ordering one? Where is your medical ID from? Has it saved your life in an emergency? Do you think you need one? Why or why not?

There is hope for healing and you are not alone,

0-BLOG SIGNATURE SARA

Comments

  1. Thank you so much for sharing my medical alert bracelet!

  2. Steven Richter says

    TY for your story Sara. I’ve been a gym rat since 1983. Years of running, Biking, Weight
    Lifting, last few years, Yoga, Spin- Etc.
    Have been living w/ my “Companion” Bijoux,
    My late wife’s Scottish Terrier who is a “Natural medical detective”. She would sound her alarm when my wife would have a low blood sugar episode. Recently I had a usual Sunday Morning workout, spin,yoga, and Treadmill- (some might say – a little bit much, but for me, routine). Monday morning I found myself getting winded just carrying two heavy briefcases up a flight and a hallway walk from car to office. Progressively worse until Friday morning, I called my Doctors office and was told to come right in. After a few tests, my GP sent me into the ER at my local Hospital. They immediately took me in, told me I had multiple clots in my lungs after a CT scan. From Fri night thru Sunday afternoon I was on intravenous Heprin and was sent home with Rx for Xaralto for the next 6 months. Still waiting to hear results of many tubes of blood taken. A huge amount of anxiety waiting- although I am not restricted from excercising – I’m told to listen to my body. Tomorrow is Sunday two weeks. Steve

  3. Great post! I wish I would have stumbled on this site sooner!

    I wear a medical alert dog with COUMADIN tag next to my DOD tag on a chain. There are times when I don’t have my wallet (with my wallet card) on me, and I wanted something that would be there in case of an “uh oh” level event. I put my tags on first thing in the morning, and take them off last thing before bed. I like wearing an alert dog tag since it takes the thinking out of the equation for me. I bought my tag about a week after diagnosis, since I am regularly without my wallet for work, at the gym, etc.

    Here’s the tag I have.
    //www.amazon.com/gp/product/B0046B86Z0?psc=1&redirect=true&ref_=oh_aui_detailpage_o06_s00

    • Thank you for writing about this issue. I was a pedestrian hit by a car and sustained leg trauma. I had developed DVT as a result and am now on the blood thinner Xarelto. I am terrified and trying to find a sense of normalcy. I think ordering a medical alert bracelet is smart and will help ease some anxiety I have about getting back out there. I can’t stay in my home 24/7.

  4. Tammy Windsor says

    I just ordered my bracelet today. I’m glad I did because I know I will it will be one less thing to worry about in the whole DVT now PTS lifestyle. I was injured by a midline IV pic in my right primary arm after a hospital stay for pneumonia. The clot went from my elbow to the subclavian area on my neck, 18 in long with Bacillus level clots below my elbow. Practically unheard of and now have value issues in the subclavian and Auxiliary region on my arm, by blood refluxes back down my arm. This a horrific experience and I deal daily with the struggle of what my future physical abilities will look like. I’m in Physical therapy to gain back the usage of my arm. Before this happen I used to work out doing Crossfit and I hope to return to doing it. I know it is a long ways off yet. I’m trying not to let this define my whole life but I’m only 4 months down the road and it is pretty much effected my work, being a grand parent everything but hopefully not for long. The emotions range all over the place as a process all these new things.

    • I’m very sorry to hear this happened to you. I know that every day can bring different emotions and how exhausting that can be. I’m in my first month (2/11/16 was the day.) Getting over an injury takes strength and courage. Celebrate the little milestones. The medical ID brings us an anxiety-free moment in our recovery.

  5. I am ordering my bracelet today. I had bad clot in left leg and went in both lungs. I will order a DVT/PE bracelet with my xarelto 20 mg on it. I am 34 and spent 4 days in critical and another 4 days in hospital. God bless Dr’s and meds.scary time.

  6. I’ve had 1 of these since January of this year. I was diagnosed with a very large DVT and multiple PE’s in both lungs, as well as diabetes. I travel a lot and needed to be able to advise medical personnel about my condition in case of an accident. Peace of mind…

  7. Karen Scott says

    I just got my bracelet today. I have severe allergic reaction to peanuts. I got mine from //www.medicassist.com/ . I wanted to get a more traditional bracelet cause it’s easier for any responders to spot.

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