Medical ID Bracelets Come to Israel

YERUSHALAYIM -

Potentially lifesaving medical ID bracelets, available for some 20 years in countries around the world, are now coming to Israel, The Jerusalem Post reported Sunday.

The bracelets identify conditions such as allergies, diabetes, heart conditions and other vital information like blood type that could be crucial when an unidentified person suffers a health emergency.

The question being asked is what took so long.

Nahum Kovalski, deputy vice president and chief information officer of the Terem chain of urgent medical care, suggested that the hurdle has been financial. “Getting Israelis to pay for this will not be easy, and the ones who need it the most will most likely not buy it,” he said.

The bracelets range in price from 167 to 230 shekels, not a monumental sum for an item of such obvious benefit.

South African-born Juliet Mandelzweig, joint general manager and co-owner of the MediTag company with her partners Sara Kushelevich and Michal Adlersberg, said she has received estimates that there are 1.5 million Israelis with conditions that require quick identification in an emergency.

Mandelzweig, an asthmatic and diabetic, got the idea four years ago, when she was hospitalized for a suspected heart attack. She became terrified that she might pass out and nobody would know how to help her.

“I remembered medical ID bracelets from South Africa. It’s not a new invention, but this is the only one in the Israeli market.”

The bracelets are manufactured in China in 40 designs, engraved on the inside in Hebrew and/or English.

The Israel Medical Association was informed by the new company of its lifesaving product. Prof. Shmuel Kviti, chief of allergy and clinical immunology at Tel Aviv Sourasky Medical Center, was “ecstatic” when he learned of the product, the coowner said.

In addition, the heads of Sourasky’s endocrinology department who worry about insulin-dependent diabetics they treat have endorsed it.

It did not take long for the product to garner enthusiastic endorsements from health emergency services and health-care providers.

“We often get to scenes of unconscious individuals, whether it be in a car accident, a sudden collapse on the street or deterioration at a person’s home, and there is no one available or knowledgeable about the patient’s underlying medical condition,” said Eli Beer, founder and president of United Hatzalah of Israel.

“As first responders, our volunteers are always looking for ways to shave valuable seconds off response times. Any more information that we can immediately glean [at the] scene will help us treat the patient even more quickly and effectively, and will help us save more lives in Israel.”