Transplant bracelets or transplant jewelry is probably the last thing on your mind after recently being an organ transplant recipient. After all, bracelets, necklaces and anklets may not seem to serve any purpose beyond being decorative. However, when it comes to organ transplants, being easily identified as having a transplant is often necessary in emergency situations.
This is why transplant bracelets are often worn to alert people, such as rescuers, first-aid staff and medical professionals of the appropriate action to perform when the wearer is involved in an emergency. Immediately knowing that a person in distress has had a transplant allows emergency personnel to take appropriate actions.
Knowledge Can Save a Life
When transplant recipients were first encouraged to wear transplant bracelets, some people were not very supportive of getting "tagged" as a transplant recipient. However, the fact that the bracelets were medical alert tags and could make a difference between life and death in an emergency quickly showed why it was a necessity. Today, even with modern technology, doctors still recommend a medical ID for everyone who has had an organ transplant.
Transplant recipients require special medical care and immediate attention. In some emergencies, the transplant recipient may not always be able to speak or communicate. He or she may even be unresponsive. Furthermore, an emergency may occur when a relative or a friend who has knowledge about the transplant may not be around. In these cases, a transplant bracelet can silently inform the attending medical personnel of the transplant, how to contact the doctor and/or transplant medical team, that the transplant recipient is on immunosuppressants, and other important medical diagnoses.
Preparing for a Transplant Emergency
A transplant recipient takes medication to prevent organ rejection. These medicines weaken the immune system to allow the transplant to be accepted by the body. As a result of the weakened immune system, the transplant recipient is more at risk to get infections.
A transplant medical identification provides important information to the emergency team. The paramedics or EMTs will need to contact the doctor or transplant team for instruction. If the transplant patient is a child, the parents' or guardian's names and contact phone number(s) should be included.
Always ensure that you or your loved one is wearing a transplant bracelet at all times and, especially, before leaving the house. If necessary, pack an extra bracelet during special trips, particularly if you will be travelling alone or leaving town. Always wear the bracelet where it can be spotted easily and avoid taking it off. New styles and designs won’t cramp your style and it can mean the difference between living a healthy life and suffering major medical consequences.