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What should I engrave on my Medical ID

The purpose of a medical ID is to alert paramedics and EMT's to a patient's specific medical or allergic condition at the point in time when they're about to administer emergency treatment.  It's critical for persons whose illnesses might render them unable to speak to wear a medical ID bracelet or medical ID tag, but anyone involved in a traumatic incident like a car crash could be in a state of unconsciousness when help arrives.  The goal is for the patient to receive proper treatment without delay, and to help ensure that they won't receive a medication that they're allergic to.  It's commonly said that a medical ID speaks for you when you're unable to speak, but your doctor is the final authority on what should be engraved on your medical id. What follows is a set of guidelines that will help you know what EMT's say should be engraved on your medical ID. 

Key Components of a Medical ID: There are four pieces of information that generally need to be engraved on a medical alert bracelet:  

  • Diagnosis or condition
  • Allergies (if any)
  • Patient's name
  • and Emergency Contact

There are also things that aren't needed, such as the patient's address (unless they have dementia) and social security number.

Personal Information Most people prefer to have personal information out of sight, so it's most common to have the patient's diagnosis and allergies engraved on the front of their ID bracelet, and their name and emergency contact on the back.  Although not all medical id bracelet providers offer two-sided engraving, most medical id bracelets can be engraved on both sides, and that provides a greater opportunity to convey your medical information. 

Common Medical Abbreviations There are a number of standard medical abbreviations that can be used to save room (see below).  Most of these are international in scope and acceptance, but not all.  Pay close attention to the use of upper-and-lower-case letters in the abbreviation.  Extraneous words should be left out if possible.  For example, it's not necessary to engrave 'Taking Coumadin'.  Just the word 'Coumadin' is sufficient.  And, rather than engraving 'Allergic to Penicillin', you can convey the same message by saying 'No Penicillin'. The same is true for food allergies.  If you're allergic to nuts, just say 'No Nuts'.  If you want to say that the patient has no allergies whatsoever, that can be abbreviated 'NKA'.  'No Blood Pressure left arm' can be abbreviated as 'No BP L Arm'. See Other Side If any diagnosis or allergy information is being engraved on the back of a medical bracelet and the medical ID would have to be removed from the wrist in order to see the back side, it's best to add the words 'See Other Side' on the front.  It may use up a line of engraving, but it helps let the paramedic know that additional information is available on the back of your bracelet.

 

Common Abbreviations Found on a Medical ID Bracelet

 

ADHD

Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder

ARDS

Acute respiratory distress syndrome

ASCVD

Atherosclerotic Cardiovascular Disease

Bld

Blood

BP

Blood Pressure

COPD

Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease

CT

Chemotherapy

CVA

Cerebrovascular Accident (Stroke)

DM

Diabetes Mellitus

DNR

Do Not Resuscitate

DVT

Deep Venous Thrombosis (blood clot)

FX

Fracture

HRT

Hormone Replacement Therapy

HTN

Hypertension

IBD

Inflammatory bowel disease

ICD

Implantable Cardioverter Defibrillator

IPF

Idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis

JT

Joint

LBP

Low Back Pain

MVP

Mitral Valve Prolapse

O.D.

Right Eye

O.S.

Left Eye

O.U.

Both Eyes

PTSD

Post-Traumatic Stress Syndrome

PUD

Peptic Ulcer Disease

No BP L Arm

No Blood Pressure Left Arm

No BP R Arm

No Blood Pressure Right Arm

No

Allergic To (e.g. No Penicillin or No Tree Nuts)

Diabetes T2

Type 2 Diabetes

CV

Cardiovascular

DO

Disorder

RBC

Red Blood Cell

RF

Risk Factor

A-Fib

Atrial Fibrillation (irregular heartbeat)

ABX

Antibiotics

PCN

Penicillin

BMT

Bone Marrow Transplant

BAD

Bipolar Affective Disorder

CHF

Congestive Heart Failure

PD

Parkinson’s Disease

PE

Pulmonary Embolism

PKD

Polycystic Kidney Disease

RDS

Respiratory Distress Syndrome

TBI

Traumatic Brain Injury

UC

Ulcerative Colitis