Medic alert bracelets are the new black.
January 21, 2008 10:01 PM   Subscribe

Help me find a medic alert bracelet that doesn't suck.

Ideally, I'd like:
(1) a silver or stainless steel
(2) cuff (no chains please), with
(3) the medical condition engraved on the inside (touching my wrist), and
(4) a non-obvious (not red & not raised) symbol on the outside.

I cannot find one online. Can I purchase a cuff and get it engraved myself? Are engravers usually able to do the medical alert symbol? Are they usually able to engrave the inside? Are there standards for these things? Thanks in advance.
posted by ncc1701d to Health & Fitness (16 answers total) 2 users marked this as a favorite
Response by poster: Update: found this, but I'd prefer a black or un-inked-in medical symbol. I also want to avoid hand engraving (which is all these guys can do for the inside of the bracelet). I'm normally not this picky, but am going to wear this all the time. Help!
posted by ncc1701d at 10:11 PM on January 21, 2008

It seems to me that a medicalert bracelet with a "non-obvious" symbol on it has a greatly reduced likelihood of, you know, performing its function. Do you really want to stake your life on the ability of people around you to notice subtle details in an emergency?
posted by jjg at 11:00 PM on January 21, 2008 [1 favorite]

Talk to a jeweller about the engraving. You should be able to get the interior of a bracelet engraved in typeface. My wedding ring is only 3mm wide, and it has a typeface engraving on the inside. As for the medical symbol, I guess it would depend on whether it is under copyright or not as to whether any jeweller can reproduce it, and I don't know the answer to that question.
posted by happyturtle at 12:46 AM on January 22, 2008

i think most EMTs and emergency room doctors would automatically check any jewelry for a medical alert, but you probably would at least want a caduceus engraved on the outside.

i would bet that any jeweler would be able to do this for you.
posted by thinkingwoman at 4:29 AM on January 22, 2008

Best answer: I reckon you will get better (as well as cheaper) service form an ordinary back-street engraver/key cutter rather than a jeweller.
posted by Idcoytco at 4:50 AM on January 22, 2008

my mom has something similar from her jeweler - i think they ordered it from a book and engraved onsite. it has the medical symbol and her name on the outside and her condition on the inside.
posted by desjardins at 5:19 AM on January 22, 2008

Best answer: i would think you could paint over the one in the link if so desired. would also recommend a card in your wallet in case medical personnel notice that first.
posted by desjardins at 5:23 AM on January 22, 2008

I think the only place you want to go is Medic Alert for advice on this and appropriate products.

Medic Alert is NOT about the jewelery - it's about the medical condition encoding on the jewelery, and the database and 24/7 response behind the jewelery. Think of a Medic Alert bracelet as the thinnest of thin client interfaces - in just a few engraved characters, EMT personnel can get 24/7 access to anything in your medical record that they need. The information on the jewelery gives an overview of the condition to watch out for - but the nurse at the Medic Alert call center (and they are licensed nurses) will be able to give a great deal more information to the EMT, nurse, or physician who calls to ask for it. My understanding is that EMT people know how this works and do routinely call for more information.

The JPG you linked to is NOT the Medic Alert symbol, btw. The whole point of such an item is that it is standard both front (the symbol) and back (the encoded medical condition) - considering this is to be used in an emergency, I don't think you'd want to play around with it too much.
posted by mikel at 6:42 AM on January 22, 2008

Well apparently it's a bad idea to get a stylin' profilin' medic alert bracelet, but in case you still want to, check these bad boys. The custom cuff bracelets are the third link up at the top there, and here is a direct link to the picture. It sounds like you would be able to meet all your needs if you called Hoss himself. Also, then you would get to talk to a guy named Hoss. Sweet!
posted by tatiana wishbone at 7:17 AM on January 22, 2008

Best answer: If you liked the titanium band it should be fairly easy to remove the red paint.
posted by 6550 at 8:29 AM on January 22, 2008

Response by poster: Thanks to all who've responded. Any ideas on how to get the red paint off the titanium band?
posted by ncc1701d at 9:27 AM on January 22, 2008

Seconding mikel.

A MedicAlert bracelet is a piece of jewelry that you wear to notify emergency personnel that there is information they may need to know about you stored in the MedicAlert database. The bracelet gives them your ID number, which they use to look you up in that database to get your medical information, including any medical conditions they need to know about, a list of the medications you're taking and their doses, allergies, emergency contacts, and any other relevant information. When you buy the bracelet, you're not buying jewelry; you're buying membership in the database.

If you go to a jeweler and have a bracelet crafted with a medical-looking symbol on it, you don't have a MedicAlert bracelet, and you might as well just get a snazzy bracelet and engrave "I HAVE *INSERT MEDICAL CONDITION HERE*" on the band.
posted by decathecting at 11:21 AM on January 22, 2008

Response by poster: i appreciate the responses and your concern, but i think some elaboration is in order:

for some conditions, the medics need to have available a full medical history, which the database provides very effectively. there is only one part of my medical condition that's relevant to emergency situations, however, and so that is all that needs to go on my bracelet. this is according to my (very educated, specialist) physician.

it is my understanding that EMTs are trained to check any jewelry for medic alert information, so i'm not too concerned that they're going to miss it. i'm trying to avoid making my condition, or the medical symbol, overly obvious to others. that is, i don't want to constantly explain it in job interviews, when meeting new people, and the like. thanks again in advance.
posted by ncc1701d at 11:52 AM on January 22, 2008

Best answer: The paint might come out easily with simple scraping, though you'll risk scratching the metal underneath if you aren't careful. I'd probably try acetone or paint thinner first. Take a cloth and dampen a bit and try wiping the paint. If you're lucky it'll start to come off right away. If not you may need to apply more acetone/thinner or even try soaking it in a jar for a while (an empty tuna can is probably the perfect size). I don't think there'll be any adverse reaction to the metal as titanium is pretty inert. Just make sure you rinse it when you're done; with thinner washing it with some a bit of soap after wouldn't hurt.

The plus is it's difficult to get paint to adhere to metal really well so it's almost always possible to remove it.
posted by 6550 at 1:48 PM on January 22, 2008

Hi ncc1701d, found some possibly good options for you.

Sticky Jewelry has lots of decent choices. They do engraving and the prices are reasonable, affordable. Since they already do medical jewelry, as well as fashion designs, I think they'll do a good job. You could get a couple of different bracelets to wear on different occasions or in case of loss.

I think it's worth buying from a company who focus on the medical engraving aspect because they are likely to be more exact, use a readable font, be familiar with this type of engraving, which will probably be more easily read and more deeply engraved, so it doesn't wear down easily.

Brushed Stainless Steel with Carbon Fiber Cuff Bracelet. Measure your wrist carefully when ordering a steel cuff, because steel is rigid, not like silver or gold.

A brushed stainless steel bangle. Brushed is less likely to show the wear and tear if you wear it daily, than the polished styles. The width needs to be considered to be able to read easily and contain the info required.

Probably best to have a caduceus engraved like this and have the medical info on the inside/underside of the bracelet.

Brushed stainless steel and leather cuff.

ID style with leather and magnetic clasp. This medical bracelet is attractive.

Black rubber cuff
with stainless steel id. Another one.

The British company, MedicalTags, is another very good site with varied selection and attractive medical engraving:

Leather watchband with ID band, stylish.

Canvas strap medical id sports bracelet.

Medical id watch.

Stretch metal cuff with capsule.

This capsule necklace is neat and can hold written instructions.

A stainless steel plaque that fits sport watch bands.

Capsule necklace.

You said no chains but this one doesn't look like those typical id chain bracelets, it's Tiffany style.

Or you can engrave a pendant and wear it as a charm on a bracelet or on a necklace.

Their engraving looks good, instructions and ordering options look intelligently and thoughtfully organized.
posted by nickyskye at 3:37 PM on January 22, 2008 [1 favorite]

Response by poster: thanks for your help!
posted by ncc1701d at 10:06 PM on January 22, 2008

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