Have you considered a tattoo as medical ID? if so

Hi, folks,

I’m new to this site but 57+ years T1D.

Years ago I had a wrist medical ID. It hurt my wrist like crazy whenever I rested my arm on whatever. Tried the necklace, from the most prominent medical ID provider shall we say. It fell off constantly. I think I kept doing things to expand the links until they could unhook from each other.

I’m not a tattoo type, but for years I’ve debated getting a tattoo around my wrist: “T1 DIABETIC” over and over, repeated around my wrist, small enough that it looks at first like a bracelet but (obviously) big enough to read. Problem is, if I’m going to do that, then I really should add the other 2 problems that are kind of critical to my care… And then I should probably add the more severe allergies?.. Oh but then I should add…

I really don’t want my ID to be obvious, and I’m really not a jewelry person.

  1. Have you considered a “diabetic” tattoo? What affected your decision to get it or not to get it?

  2. If you’ve gotten a T1Diabetic-type tattoo, where did you put it?

2.a… Did you go out of your way to be discrete? or to be obvious? I’ve seen the people with DIABETIC in huge letters the length of their forearm. Not my style. I’m not wild about bringing attention to myself.

But I don’t want my medical conditions to go unidentified if I’m in an accident or found unable to communicate. Seizures (which I’ve never had in public) might not be caused by diabetes after all.

  1. Am I worrying needlessly about identification? I’ve never needed it, but I’m getting older (repeat, T1D 57+ years). And my head tends generally toward “What if…?” thinking.

But they tell Boy Scouts to be prepared! Not that I was ever eligible, LOL.

Thanks for your inputs and insights. Much appreciated.

the Noz

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No tattoos for me, but if you’re interested in trying a different bracelet style ID, I recommend RoadID. It’s customizable and comes in a variety of styles.

Hi again @theNoz . Someone (cough cough, yours truly) posted a question on what medical ID people used and one responder - who worked in EMS - contributed this important information:

… tattoos are a real disaster. There was discussion here, TuDiabetes, or a Facebook D group where the concept though sounding good, was thrashed to the woodshed. None of the 50 states recognize them in EMS training. Several of the other English speaking countries around the globe also leave them in the lurch.

[quote=“987jaj, post:17, topic:71016”]

I tried a necklace ago back in the last century😊: hated it - it swung around and got in the way - so I’ve worn bracelets ever since. Medic Alert has lots of options, including lobster claw claps, stretch bands, silicone, and tags you can attach to watch bands or shoelaces, to name only a few. The lobster claw chain slipped around on my wrist so I use the stretch band myself.

No on the tattoo medical ID’s. Being an ex EMT-I we were never trained to look for something written on someones body, somewhere to find their medical issues. Tattoo’s are too common place on so many people now adays and range from prison tats to beautiful art forms and first responders don’t have the time needed during the golden hour to look for a tat. Necklaces and braclets are the way to go with backup info in your wallet.

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You don’t mention whether you wear an insulin pump or CGM. I assume wearing an insulin pump or CGM sensor would alert healthcare providers. I hope so anyway and would welcome anyone’s thoughts on this. !I don’t think a tattoo would be ideal. Paramedics probably trained to look for bracelet or necklace type ID, not reading tattoos.

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Noz, Sad to say, in the US medical alert skin art is NOT RECOGNIZED as a valid medical alert. There has been much discussion in this and other forums. Many recognized EMS educators & certified ER nurses have shared the skin art is just that, SKIN ART.

In some international forums, EMS commenters from English speaking countries around the planet have also indicated SKIN ART is null.

Hope this helps you understand the ink is just art and of no medical impact.


@wadawabbit , thanks for the clip from the other posting. I (obviously) had not considered that possibility, and @rs3880, thanks for seconding and confirming from 1st-hand, and @987jaj for making it unanimous!

I saw Medic Alert’s silicone bands once, I think my objection was cost and lack of any colors I would want to wear (I’m really hard to please on colors), but I’ll take another look.

If you like silicone I do hope you find pleasing options - I didn’t take a look to see what they have but I am picky about colors myself so I do understand. I nearly passed out when I saw they have a 14k gold emblem that’s nearly $1400.00! They want to have something for everyone I guess.
Happy shopping!
PS - just for grins, do any of our “more experienced😉” members recall a bracelet that opened up and had a folded paper where you could not your details? Mine was short- lived - I wore it in the tub😩.
PPS - there’s a Medic Alert ID card available now that uses a QR code for access to your info. I think cards were mentioned in the discussion I started but I don’t recall if these are the same ones. I’m going to get one to use in addition to the ID I wear.

I can’t wear a bracelet because it bothers my wrist but I do use a chain. The chains that come with the standard medic alert ones from the store are horrible and I normally can’t get them over my head. I wound up buying a nondescript gold chain years ago and put the medal on it years ago and it’s been there since

yes i have and my mom wants me to get one as my first. I think its a good idea. not beacuase its a tattoo but because its always going to be there

I encourage you and your mom to read the comments above, check out the links to other posts on the topic, and do your own research. I have a few tats myself (none medical) and they are expensive - it would be a shame to spend the money to find out it may have gone to waste. Also, a tattoo artist can only write so small so imagine what size the emblem design would have to be to include the word “Diabetic”. Food for thought.

depends what tattoo it is. And it would be cheeper than spending the rest of your life spending on medical bracelets or whatever.

Medic Alert allows you to update your medical information in their system in addition to having it engraved on an emblem. You can purchase a new emblem as you want or need and most are reasonable in cost; and an annual membership fee keeps you active in the system. I’ve had a few emblems in my life and all told they cost much less than my least expensive tattoo. Of course the choice is yours.

Mike, thanks. I hadn’t considered a DIY arrangement with Medic Alert’s medal and my choice of attachment. I think I’d clip it to the tether I currently have my Omnipod PDM on, or if I give up the tether when I jilt Omnipod for t:slim in March (assuming that happens), move the ID tag to whatever holds my t:slim or else a leather thong-ish something. Leather doesn’t bother me as much as just about anything else, unless it’s got adornments or such.

Now I see that Medic Alert doesn’t make ID’s in the shape of dog tags. Seems short-sighted of them, if you ask me.

With some of my jewelry (not medic alert) I’ve occasionally switched a charm from one bracelet to another using a split ring (rings used on keychain) or a jump ring (which is open and can be squeezed together). Split rings aren’t a bad choice so long as there’s no big gap. If you use a jump ring solder it shut (a jeweler can do it for you and there are some soldering products you can use at home) and run it through a split ring that’s attached to your tether.

A word of advise from an ex EMS responder. Time is of the most importance in an emergency situation. A medalian should have the red star of life on the front with medical condition on the back, and be on a necklace or braclet by itself, less distractions. We don’t have time to sort through a bunch of charms or items to find an aswer for treatment. When going through the body survey of an unresponsive patient, we were trained to start from the head down to the feet noting injuries and when getting to the neck and wrist areas to look for a single medical emblem turning it over and to identify any medical condition all in a limited amount of time. We were timed and monitored for thoroughness.

Yes Dorie, I had one of those expandable band bracelets with the flip open compartment that had a paper folded up in it. Just washing my hands caused issues with the paper falling apart.

The other issue that concerns a tattoo medical ID is usually EMS does not cut non traumatic patients clothes off of them so reading a tat is easy to miss when long sleeves are involved. During body surveys the EMT is trained to feel for bracelets or necklaces, j/s.

Very interesting - I never thought of that.

@rs3880 we might have tried to finagle something that would work but there really was no point… Short lived experiment that one, at least for me😊.