I haven't been around for a while, but I was especially bored today and had some time to stop by.
PA, I think you may be thinking of the VeriMed implantable patient ID chip. It's implanted in humans the same way the chips are implanted in pets. The medical information isn't in the chip itself - it just has an ID number. The scanner itself connects to the database using wireless technology and legitimate emergency responders can retrieve the medical records associated with the ID number. VeriMed was approved by the FDA and actively marketed for a while, but they're not actively marketing them anymore, probably because they're cost prohibitive and have some big limitations. Unless the emergency responders have an active VeriMed brand scanner, there's no way to get the ID number out of the chip, and unless you wear a bracelet or carry an ID card, paramedics wouldn't know you have the chip implanted, so it doesn't really offer much more than a subscript
ion to Medicalert
I wear a medical alert
bracelet for my SCS, and never, ever leave home without it on. I can see where the rep would think the card is enough, but I don't
. Women, especially, can't count on emergency responders finding that card, because it's tucked away in our purse. It's not like a man's wallet being inside his pocket. I've gone through so many accident scenarios in my head, and not a single one of them has ever included a paramedic stopping to say "hey, did anyone grab her purse??" as they're loading my lifeless body into the back of an ambulance.
In a car accident, my purse could be thrown around in the vehicle or even completely out of the vehicle, and end up somewhere the paramedics can't see it or get to it. If I'm walking through the grocery store and have some sort of event on the tampon aisle, there's no guarantee my purse would stay with me while people tried to help and/or the paramedics assessed the situation. It could be in a shopping buggy that gets moved out of the way, a well-meaning store employee could pick up my purse to protect it, or a not so well-meaning person could take the opportunity to steal it. In any case, the paramedics are going to be focusing on me and my condition, not looking around to see if I have a purse with me.
Because of the nature of my spine problems, I have certain reflexes that are diminished or absent. If I were to arrive at the hospital unconscious or in an altered state of consciousness after a possible head injury, the doctor would likely assume those absent reflexes are an acute problem rather than a chronic problem. I have no doubt the doctor would order an MRI, because it's the current standard of care for that injury combination. If my purse/wallet has been lost along the way or the doctor has no previous experience with the SCS implants, s/he would have no idea that the MRI would most likely kill me.
On top of that, I live in a VERY rural area and the SCS implant isn't a common treatment around here, because there's no local doctor doing the implants. There's not even a local pain management doctor here. I travel over an hour (an interstate highway hour, not downtown traffic hour) to get to my pain doctor and he's one of two in a 4-hour radius that does the implants. Just knowing I have the implant (which is all the card tells them) isn't enough information for the doctors and medical staff here, because they don't know what the SCS is, what it does, or what medical interventions are limited. The card might as well say είστε γιατρός.
Several months ago, I had to go to the ER for a semi-related problem and once they finished treating the problem, the ER doctor asked if I would mind speaking to the rest of the staff about
the SCS implant. All the other doctors, medical students, and nurses that weren't with other patients came in and gathered around my gurney, while I explained what the SCS was and how it worked. Then they all took turns palpating my battery pack and looking at my remote control settings. It was really kind of sad that I had to pay the ER fees out of pocket, with no insurance, and I didn't even get a discount for my willingness to provide staff education.
But anway, I absolutely believe it's safest to have the bracelet that's visible, that's attached
to me, that's not going to get lost along the way, and that has instructions for what not to do, just in case I end up with an inexperienced doctor.
I facilitate a SCS support group through my doctor's office and once a month, about
15 people come from the 4 states that border in my area. A couple of months ago, this topic came up and several of us were comparing bracelets, while talking about
the different bracelets that several of us have made or bought. The next meeting, we all brought our "collections" for a sort of show and tell session, after the main group topic. There was one woman in particular that makes and sells medical alert
bracelets and put all of ours to absolute SHAME! I ended up buying a whole new bracelet from her! Here's a (lousy) picture - I'm such a girly girl for a BionicWoman.
I know there's tons of places online to get the bracelets, but I have a special affinity for this woman, because she's "one of us," for lack of a better descript
ion. She has an SCS implant for back and leg pain, and she knows the battle with the beast very, very well. I'm always interested in supporting "one of us" so it was money well spent. She sells her handmade bracelets on Etsy and if anyone is interested, I can pass along her contact information. I don't think I can post the direct link to her Etsy store here, but I'll be happy to share that privately - or one of the mods can let me know if it's ok to post the link.
And that's my 2 cents on the topic