MedicAlert: A nonprofit emergency medical information service, known for its MedicAlert jewelry, particularly the bracelet, and its 24-hour emergency response center.
MedicAlert was founded by Marion and Chrissie Collins in California. In 1953, when Dr. and Mrs. Collins were away on vacation, their daughter Linda cut her finger and was taken to a hospital. There she had a routine shot of tetanus antitoxin. Instantly, she went into anaphylactic shock, developed hives, had difficulty breathing, had to be sustained by an oxygen tent, and almost died. To protect her afterward, Linda's father pinned a piece paper to her clothing saying, "Fatally allergic to tetanus antitoxin." Later, when Linda approached college, she tired of the safety pins and rejected her father's suggestion that a tattoo might suffice. She said, "Dad, why don't you fix me some sort of bracelet?" Dr. Collins designed the first bracelet, using the well-known medical symbol of the caduceus, two snakes wrapped around a winged staff, placed the words "Medic Alert" alongside the emblem, and listed his daughter's medical condition on the back.
MedicAlert grew to serve not only patients with severe allergies but those with other conditions such as diabetes, heart disease, epilepsy and Alzheimer disease, those using medications that may adversely interact with other drugs, and a growing number of individuals who simply want to make sure they are identified in a medical emergency and receive optimal medical care under any circumstance.
A key feature of MedicAlert is its system by which emergency personnel can telephone 24 hours a day to get information about anyone wearing a MedicAlert bracelet.
MedicAlert has been endorsed by many medical groups including the American College of Emergency Physicians; American Academy of Family Physicians; American Academy of Pediatrics; American Diabetes Association; American College of Allergy, Asthma & Immunology; and American Hospital Association. For more information or to join MedicAlert, go to their web site (at www.medicalert.org).
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Last Editorial Review: 6/9/2016