My 60 Years with MedicAlert®

I remember at the time we lived in Fish Hoek in Cape Town. I was at the time ill with something or other and was given penicillin by the Doctor who in those times made house calls. I had a violent reaction to penicillin and stopped breathing. The doctor then gave me an antidote or something of that nature to counteract the penicillin shot, and then informed my parents about this new upcoming company, called MedicAlert®. If you are a member and wear a bracelet, and need medical attention, the bracelet speaks out about your medical condition and someone can phone the number for more information about you and your next of kin.

Moving forward to the 70’s, I was a teenager and it was never cool to wear items of jewellery around your neck or wrists if it was of a medical nature (sort of nerdish). At that time I wore every kind of bracelet, chain, leather or copper bracelets, the last thing I wanted to wear was a MedicAlert ID.

In saying this I was always proud to announce that I was the first member of medic alert and that if given penicillin could result in serious damage or even fatal. 

The evening of my matric dance I was involved in a motor vehicle accident and ended up unconscious at Victoria hospital. When I came around I was reprimanded by a very concerned Doctor why I was not wearing my MedicAlert disc. He then informed me that they were going to administer penicillin to me, but was stopped by a friend from collage who had accompanied me to the hospital, I had told her about my allergies and she was quick to inform them that I was allergic. Linda Sandak Lewin saved my life that day. We still chat from time to time.

I have since that night realised how lucky I was and that if I had worn my MedicAlert® Chain or Bracelet it could have spoken for me. I was lucky that I had Linda to speak for me. What if she was not around? Since then I have ensured that I wear my MedicAlert® identity at all times, as it speaks for you when you can’t and it saves your live without you knowing it.

I want to share this thought with others. MedicAlert® is the voice that speaks when you cannot; it lies dormant around your neck or on your wrist and jumps to action when the need arises. We can’t always have a Linda around in time of need, but we can have MedicAlert® sign.

I am proud to be the first member of MedicAlert® and wear my bracelet with pride.

Best regards



Johannesburg detective Neil, 25, was driving to Bloemfontein for a four-day break.    He blacked out behind the wheel of his car twenty kilometres before his destination.  His car rolled several times, throwing him metres away from his car.  A passer-by picked him up, as there were no rescue vehicles in the area, and rushed him to Universitas Hospital.

Doctors found blood in his urine, an indication that he was bleeding internally.  Fearing that he had burst a kidney, they immediately prepared to do an intravenous polygram (IVP).  This entails injecting an iodine solution into the circulation, which shows up on the screen and allows doctors to check for a haemorrhage.  “Wait” someone screamed.  “He is wearing a MedicAlert® bracelet on his wrist!”  The bracelet revealed that he is allergic to iodine.  Instead of conducting the IVP, doctors put him under close observation, constantly monitoring the blood in his urine.  

Fortunately it started to decrease, signalling that the likelihood of a burst kidney was less.  

Neil looks back on the episode with gratitude.  “All my life I’d been warned that iodine could kill me” he says.  “Without my bracelet to sound off the alarm and the Lord, I might not have been alive today.”



One Saturday morning Graham was hit by an out of control taxi that had climbed the pavement of a street in Mooi River, Kwa Zulu Natal.  Suffering severe head injuries, he was stabilised at the scene by a doctor. 

 He was then rushed off to Estcourt Hospital.  He could not speak for himself, but his MedicAlert® bracelet immediately alerted the doctor to the fact that he is allergic to the Anti-tetanus toxoid traditionally given to patients injured in motor vehicle accidents.  

A single drop would have caused a severe reaction that could have most probably been fatal. 

 Today, Graham has permanent short-term memory loss and cannot take pressure of any description as a direct result of the brain injury he suffered.  ““But it would have been much worse if I had not been wearing the bracelet,” he says 



On the 30th November 1999, I was called to the Customers Toilets due to the fact that a customer had collapsed. On arriving there my First Aiders were busy assessing the situation and she was transported to our Sick Room. Her son, who is mentally retarded, was with her – he was very upset and was not able to give us any information about his mother. She was wearing her MedicAlert Bracelet and this assisted us in assessing that she had a heart attack. 

 I was trying to get some information from her son re next of kin but he was unable to assist. I then telephoned the MedicAlert® office and was told that the computer was down and that you would telephone me later. Within a few minutes I received a call from your office and I was given two contact names and telephone numbers. I was able to contact the family. Unfortunately, Murial passed away while still in our store. 

I want to express my gratitude and to congratulate you on your efficient service without your assistance I would have had a major problem trying to contact the family. 

It is so vital that the public is made aware of the importance of Medic Alert and how it speaks for you when you are unable to do so. 

Once again “Thank-You”. 

Anon (name supplied)


My husband was an insulin-dependent diabetic. Although his parents had purchased an emblem for him when he was young, he was reluctant to wear it. Some people are fiercely independent, and do not want people to make a fuss of them because of their medical condition!  Although I managed to persuade him to wear it most of the time, there were many days that he forgot to put it on.

He was traveling alone in the car one day, and obviously had a diabetic reaction. The car came to rest (fortuitously) outside our local hospital, and he was soon found and admitted.  Due to the fact that he was not wearing his emblem at the time, it was many hours before I was contacted to say that he was in hospital on a drip. It was a full 24 hours before he was ‘back to normal’.

Another time, he was out on the road with work colleagues when he started feeling funny. As his workmates had no idea what to do they stopped at a police station. The police officer who attended to him immediately saw his MedicAlert emblem, gave him a sugary drink, and a little while later they were on their way again. Hats off to the police officer who had remembered his First Aid training.

Needless to say, he never forgot to wear it again, as he realized the importance of this “simple device”.



I am one of the people that appreciate the Medic Alert establishment. My son is an asthmatic, and had an accident on his motorbike. He was unconscious at the time the medical personnel arrived – my son had had an asthma attack but only on reading the condition on his Medic Alert emblem were the paramedics able to act and treat him there and then. I am positive due to the shock and injuries sustained he would have been worse off today had he not received the correct treatment immediately.

Anon (name supplied)


I want to share my Emergency and encourage everyone to join Medic Alert. On Thursday 26 January after arriving at home I had a sudden acute respiratory distress. It happened so quick without even feeling short of breath I could not breath at all. I could not call or speak due to not being able to inhale or exhale adequate. By the grace of God a friend found me and immediately took me to a hospital that’s two blocks away. The emergency room obviously relies on the information they can gather to help best. I had a medic alert chain and could immediately give them detailed information that saved my life. Thank you MedicAlert for speaking when I could not!


February 2018


Last year I had to call Frail Care at Noordhoek Manor in the middle of the night I was feeling so ill.  They called CMR who arrived and decided I needed to go to hospital.   They asked if I was allergic to anything.  I was past caring and just stuck out my arm with the bracelet on it.   They reacted immediately, read the information on the bracelet and I was on my way.   I had a burst appendix !!!



March 2021


It saved my life two times already. 1st time heart attack, 2nd time stroke,  it works for me



Such A BIG THANK YOU to you Already MedicAlert. After a seizure and fall on a railway line. My bracelet helped my family and Dr – with me being unable to say who I am.