One question I get all the time is about medical ID bracelets. “Do I get one, do I need one, what do I put on it?” The answer I always give is: Save your money.
Medical ID bracelets are for people with life threatening medical conditions, such as diabetes or epilepsy, where they could very easily become unconsious and need the bracelet to alert EMT’s to their condition and how best to treat them. They also are for people who have certain mental conditions, such as Alzheimer’s, where they may not know who they are or where they live. Bariatric surgery is not a life threatening medical condition.
I’ve seen so many postings on different support sites where post-op’s advises bariatric patients to quickly get a medical ID bracelet and put on “No NSAID’s”, and “No NG tube”. Please keep in mind that the only time someone would be reading your medical ID bracelet would be in a life or death situation where you cannot talk and have no one to speak for you.
Why would you need NSAID’s in an emergency situation? If you were having a heart attack, you would be advised to chew an aspirin. Honestly, I don’t know about you, but if I’m having a heart attack, I’m chewing that bad boy up ASAP, not worrying “hmmm, will my pouch get an ulcer”.
Why might you need an NG tube? Some reasons are to aspirate ingested poisons, feed someone who cannot eat, administering medications, or removing excess stomach acids if the patient has a block. Again, I will take my chances and have the NG tube placed. It has actually been studied that while there is a small risk of pouch damage with an NG tube in the first 6 weeks after surgery, it is safe to place the tube after those six weeks. (Read more about that here)
So while it’s a matter of opinion, and it certainly doesn’t hurt to wear a bracelet if that makes you feel more comfortable, that’s up to you. In my opinion, someone got it in their heads they could sell us ID bracelets and make a pretty penny by convincing us we needed one.