A question from WarmSocks:
When should someone wear a medical alert bracelet? Nobody has ever recommended that I should consider it, but my med list seems awfully long so I'm wondering if it would be appropriate?The purpose of the alert bracelet is two-fold:
- To provide vital information in an anticipated emergency.
- To make money off of people with illnesses.
These bracelets are marketed to people with things like insulin-dependent diabetes or heart rhythm problems. The bracelet basically says, "This is likely the reason I'm unconscious and this is what to do!" I've seen a lot of diabetics and heart patients with such bracelets, but I've never seen these bracelets make much difference. Paramedics always check blood sugar and heart rhythm as soon as they find you in such situations, so in my experience people with and without these bracelets get about the same care.
The best reason I can see for a bracelet is a rare condition that rescuers aren't going to be thinking about. Diabetics need not worry—we check a sugar on everybody that's unconscious, bracelet or not. (Other reasonable situations to have a bracelet would include: severe anaphylactic reactions to medicines or if you don't want to be resuscitated if your heart stops. )
The second reason for bracelets is to stimulate the economy. The healthcare industry is massive and you—the patient—are the cash cow. If you stop consuming all the medical accessories and extras then the Healthcare economy might shrink! Proven, effective care can be a narrow margin business, but all the physical and pharmaceutical accessories that you see marketed keep the Healthcare Business healthy even in lean times.
If you call a bracelet company they will say that your daily aspirin or history of ankle sprains should definitely qualify you for a bracelet. "Let's bill your insurance, and for a bit more you can get a stylish 14 K gold band for it!"
Your doc should be able to tell you if your condition really needs a bracelet or not.But be careful if you doc is offering bracelets or any other "value added" products in their office for your convenience! With Primary Care profit margins razor thin, a lot of doctors are going over to the darkside and letting corporations talk them into adding "secondary income streams" to their practice. If your doctor is selling something (bracelets, supplements, skin rejuvenation, etc.) other than medical care you should run the other direction. Your doctor should be an advocate for you, not the spokesperson for some product line.
Is Doctor D may be alone in his righteous anger about MDs who sell extras in their practices? D was highly offended when Little D's doctor was selling vitamin products at the clinic. Mrs. D told Doc D to quit being a pinko Commie and accept that capitalism works this way. Do you mind if your doctor makes extra by selling products?