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Ask the Responder Part 1


Ask The First Responder: Part 1

Have you ever wondered if, in an emergency, your medical ID jewelry really would come in handy? Ever wonder what information EMTs really need to see on your ID? We sat down with Jeremy, a Lauren’s Hope customer, father of two girls with epilepsy, and an Engineer with Santa Barbara City Fire, and asked just that.

emt on medical ids

Lauren's Hope: From a firefighter perspective, as a first responder, is a medical ID one of the first things you check for as you’re triaging someone?

Jeremy: Yes. If they’re unconscious, yes, that’s extremely important.

LH: What information do you get from that when you have a nonresponsive, unconscious person? What difference does that make in the outcome of a given situation?

J: It really speeds up the decision-making process [as we] try to, One: See what the problem is, and, Two: Try to correct it. If it’s something as simple as diabetes, if we give someone sugar, in less than a minute, they can be sitting up and talking to us. But if we don’t know they have diabetes, there’s a longer process to go through to try to find out … what’s going on. One of the most important things is patient history, and any medical problems that are on that bracelet are huge clues [as we’re determining] what’s going on with that person.

LH: Before our interview, you mentioned that your wife, Julie, wears medical ID jewelry when she’s running, but she has no medical issues. Why do you feel it’s important for her to wear an ICE (In Case of Emergency) ID?

J: I bought Julie one for when she’s running. [The ICE ID] has her name, my name, it says she doesn’t have any allergies, and it has my phone number. I think it’s important for people that are biking or running or out there by themselves to have some sort of identification. And the phone number is really handy too, because if she gets hurt, they can call me. [As a firefighter], I’ve called husbands and wives on calls before and, One: It’s great that the loved one knows what’s going on, and, Two: They might be able to help [inform us about] any other issues they might have going on, and then they can meet [their loved one] at the hospital.

LH: What makes wearing a Lauren’s Hope medical ID important for your daughters?

epilepsy alert braceletsJ: Both of my girls (ages 5 and 9) have epilepsy. It’s a really small form called absent seizures.  It’s where they just kind of zone out for a few seconds at a time. My youngest did have a long one a little while ago while I was at work and they called 911 and all that.

It’s important to have [the bracelet] because if it happens at school or somewhere, if the people … notice the bracelet, they can know there’s a history of seizures. When the fire department and medics show up, knowing that there’s a history of seizures, and that it’s not a new event, is huge. It’s extremely important in that it tells you something totally different if it’s a new event of a seizure. Then they’re thinking head trauma and other issues. But if it’s … in their history, and they’re on medication and all of that, it’s not as big of an emergency as if it were the first one.

LH: As a parent, do you find it difficult to have children with medical issues in the school system? Are the staff members properly trained?

J: It’s a challenge. School personnel overreact a lot to it because epilepsy can be extremely violent, but at the same time, if it’s a known deal, then as soon as it’s over, the kid is fine. Obviously, if you don’t see it very often, it’s a scary thing to see and you call the world. Personally, I’d rather have them err on the side of safety than not call, but a lot of times they overreact and they’ll try to hold a kid down. All you really need to do is kind of let it happen and be there when they come to. Try to keep them from hurting themselves. You don’t need to make it worse by holding them down or sticking something in their mouths. There needs to be a lot more education about it.

LH: What would you tell people who see that happening with a child? What’s the appropriate thing to do?

J: The appropriate thing, if they have a drop seizure where they just drop, or they have a grand mall where they continue shaking, if you can help them to the ground, help them to the ground. Cushion their head if they’re banging their head and just let them go through it. And then once they’re done, they’re going to be kind of – they call it postictal – they’ll be really confused and not all there for a little while, and then they’ll slowly come out of it. Just be there, and wait for them to come out of it, and explain what happened to them, and just keep talking to them until they’re back to normal.

Stay tuned to the Lauren’s Hope blog for more of this exclusive interview, coming soon!


This is great! You should keep this up for many of the disorders people have. First responders have the task of assessing the situation to the best of their ability. If you do not have any medical ID on you and you fall into a situation where you cannot speak, this could lead to death, in spite of what a first responder could do. As a retired nurse, this should be the theme for this summer: If you had 
came across someone who was obviously hurt, confused, or whatever...what would YOU do until the EMT's arrived? I love this article. Keep up the good work.
Posted @ Wednesday, July 04, 2012 9:32 AM by Linda Britnell
Thanks, Linda! Stay tuned this Friday for the second part of this article! And please let us know what you'd like to read about next! Happy Fourth!
Posted @ Wednesday, July 04, 2012 9:36 AM by Tara Cohen
on the part of a responder, what would he want on a bariatric patient who might be unconscience? I had RNY so i am totally rerouted, so what would he be aware of immediately?
Posted @ Wednesday, July 04, 2012 11:58 AM by paula dulaney
Paula, thanks for the comment! Here is an article that talks all about what to engrave after having gastric bypass surgery. http://blog.laurenshope.com/medical-id-jewelry-blog/bid/50075/3-Reasons-Why-Gastric-Bypass-Patients-Should-Wear-a-Medical-alert We hope this helps, but please let us know if you would like us to publish more articles about gastric bypass and medical IDs.
Posted @ Wednesday, July 04, 2012 12:24 PM by Jenna
Paula, one more thing to consider regarding your engraved information: First and Last Name, Gastric Bypass (month and year of your surgery: example 5/2012), No Blind NG Tube, No Sugar/NSAIDS, emergency contact number
Posted @ Wednesday, July 04, 2012 12:26 PM by Jenna
Thanks for the great article. It's good to know exactly what a first responder is looking for when reading a medical ID necklace or bracelet. Thanks for the work you do Jeremy. It must be tough to be a fire fighter in California. Keep up the good work!
Posted @ Thursday, July 05, 2012 8:50 AM by LeAnn
I loved this article and would love to see one on various medical problems. Especially after you call 911 what to do while you are waiting to help the person or the first responders
Posted @ Friday, July 06, 2012 10:21 AM by Deborah Byrd
I never thought of wearing an ID braclet while exercising. Thanks for the information.  
My daughter is diabetic and it is hard to find fashionable and affordable Id's. 
Posted @ Friday, July 06, 2012 8:26 PM by lynda
As an NREMT, wearer of a medical ID bracelet, and teacher of first responders and EMT's I agree with this post! It is so important to get this information to medical personnel as soon as possible! We teach all our new responders to LOOK for ID on ALL patients. This vital clue can save lives!
Posted @ Wednesday, July 18, 2012 8:47 AM by Tammy
Thank you, everyone, for your helpful and informative comments! Please let us know if there are other topics you'd like to read about!
Posted @ Wednesday, July 18, 2012 12:41 PM by Tara Cohen
Comments have been closed for this article.
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