After 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
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,