In a time of medical emergency, how can one insure that the necessary information is communicated in a timely and accurate manner?
Joyce Choskowski didn’t know the answer to that question when she collapsed outside her Middle River hair salon in April 2011. Joyce had become seriously dehydrated, a side-effect of her chemotherapy. She remained unconscious for sometime. When she awoke, she was riding in the back of an ambulance. She was mentally confused and everything around her seemed to be spinning. She was unable to answer questions posed to her by the EMT.
When the ambulance arrived at the hair salon, the EMTs found an unconscious woman lying on the sidewalk with no apparent injuries except a small bump on her forehead. They had no way of knowing what was wrong. When their patient awoke, they tried to obtain current medical information but the patient wasn’t able to answer their questions. They wondered if the bump on the head was there before her fall or as a result of the fall.
If Joyce had been wearing a Medic Alert bracelet or necklace, the EMTs would have been able to make a toll free call to get the information they needed. They would have quickly learned what medications Joyce was taking for her high blood pressure as well as the fact that she was in chemotherapy for breast cancer.
Medic Alert is an organization founded in 1965 to provide individuals with a means of identification in case of an emergency, specifically providing medical information to first responders and emergency room personnel. The idea for the medical information bracelet began years before when Dr. Marion Collins felt the need to identify his daughter Linda’s allergy to tetanus antitoxin. He knew that a standard tetanus shot in an emergency room could spell death for his daughter. Whenever she went anywhere a paper bracelet was made to warn medical personnel of the allergy in case she became injured.
For many people, the thought of a Medic Alert bracelet is for people with a life-threatening condition such as diabetes or an allergy to aspirin. Others might consider wearing it for a heart condition, or some other condition that is classified as life-threatening. Would you consider wearing one to identify the medications you take on a daily basis?
As Joyce learned from the Franklin Square Hospital Center’s emergency room staff, a Medic Alert identification can be useful whenever someone is receiving treatment for cancer. Knowing that she had several months of treatment ahead of her, she did not hesitate to apply for one.