All That Glitters, Just Might Be Gold

Did you catch a glimpse of silver at my neck? Or was it gold? Maybe it was on my wrist you saw it.

The “it” is my medical ID. It’s a piece of jewelry (often kind of ugly) that identifies me as a person with a medical condition. It’s more than jewelry; it’s a kind of safety net. First responders and medical professionals are trained to look for it. If I get so seriously injured or sick that I cannot speak for myself this ID says I need specialized medical attention.

Several companies sell medical IDs. For a list just Google “medical ID bracelets.”

Medic Alert is probably the grand daddy of these companies. They’re a non-profit foundation that’s been around since the 1950s. Medic Alert offers more than a piece of jewelry. For a modest annual fee they keep a current record of my medical conditions, medical history, medications, allergies and emergency contacts. (Of course I have to send them updates each year.) All of this information is available to first responders and medical staff 24/7 via a toll-free telephone call. Medic Alert operates in 50 countries across the world.

Until recently the jewelry offered by Medic Alert was, well, very basic. Utility ruled. Style suffered. Many people (especially young people) refused to wear medical IDs because they thought they were ugly or embarrassing. So other companies sprung up offering more stylish, up-to-date options.

Lauren’s Hope is one of these. They offer stylish medical alert bracelets inspired by a young lady with diabetes who wouldn’t wear the less than stylish alternatives. Even though they are a for-profit company the folks at Lauren’s Hope donate a portion of their profits from medical alert bracelets to The Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation.

They say that all that glitters is not gold. But in a medical emergency, my medical ID just might be pure gold.