Medical IDs

Christina 55Christina 55 TasmaniaMember Posts: 56

After being in hospital for my mastectomy, the nurses were forever trying to use the arm that I had lymph nodes removed.  I kept telling them that they are not suppose to use that arm for anything  blood pressure or blood testing etc).  The only answer I ever got was "Oh that right - we shouldn't use that arm".  So how many of us women and men wear Medical ID bracelets, necklaces etc.

If so, where is the best jewellery ID bracelets/necklaces in Australia.  I know they can be expensive, but would like to know everyone's opinion.

Thanks,  Christina


  • wendy_h67wendy_h67 Member Posts: 409
    If I have to go to hospital for any reason they always ask me which arm can they use for B.P and blood test and they usually stick a piece of sticking plaster on that particular arm which says do not use this arm.  It is good if you are having an anesthetic,  but pulling the long strip of plaster off later is not very pleasant 
  • iserbrowniserbrown Regional VictoriaMember Posts: 2,470
    Hi! I wear a BCNA wristband that I bought from the BCNA online shop. It's pink and it brings awareness. 
    Take care 

  • AfraserAfraser MelbourneMember Posts: 1,557
    It's not the best sort of solution I know but wearing a pressure sleeve sure solved that problem!! The difficulty is that unless the identifier is extremely obvious and becomes well known, it only reminds you (who hardly needs it) and not others. 
  • GlemmisGlemmis Member Posts: 224
    When I had my mastectomy & lymph node removal they put a red arm band on that arm as an alert. I thought it would be standard practice!
  • DeanneDeanne Sunshine Coast QldMember Posts: 2,011
    I have never had any of my doctors suggest the need for a medical id bracelet for this purpose. But when I went to hospital to have my ovaries removed they used a special (bright pink) hospital id band on my surgery arm. This worked well to warn off any staff from using that arm. It was reassuring that I would be ok even when unable to speak up for myself when under anesthetic effects. Would be sensible to think that all hospitals could have this system.  But in an unplanned situation (such as an accident or something) it is a worry.

    On the other hand, I did come across some information about controversies in lymphoedema that said that there is no actual research showing that taking blood pressure or even blood from the surgery side has ever caused lymphoedema. It went on to say that surgeries on the hand that require tourniquets to be applied by a surgeon have even been done without any adverse lymphoedema reactions. But I know we cannot go by everything we find through dr google!

    Lymphoedema is an area that needs far more research so that those of us at risk or who have lymphoedema can receive research backed information and recommendations. Meanwhile we are best to err on the side of caution and follow what is currently recommended by lymphoedema therapists. I think you can actually get those rubber type bands as medical id bands. These are relatively inexpensive and may give you peace of mind. 
  • AfraserAfraser MelbourneMember Posts: 1,557
    I wa told by oncology nurses that using the lymph affected arm for needles was undesirable but possible. I understood that the aversion was purely to avoid any risk of infection (always really sensible in a hospital where some nasty germs lurk) just in case as fixing infection in a lymphoedeic arm can be much harder. Wearing a pressure sleeve, I have never quite understood the issue about blood pressure!
  • primekprimek Broken HillMember Posts: 4,313
    I now wear my pressure sleeve. ..stops them in their tracks.
  • KarenhappyquilterKarenhappyquilter Member Posts: 200
    My physiotherapist says it's fine to have blood pressure taken on my lymphedema arm and also a blood test.  However best not to have an intravenous line in the affected arm, though if it was to save my life, it would be worth taking the risk. I  currently  wear a sleeve and have a bracelet on the other arm to say no blood pressure etc on my affected arm.  I have one which is silver metal with stretchy links so it is easy to put on and off.  I thought it was important to get one and wear it, but am not so certain now.  I have one where the company has details of my allergies to medications.  I suppose it might help one day.   The trouble is, if the bracelet is unobtrusive it might not get noticed but I don't want to wear daily something that isn't unobtrusive!  
  • MiraMira I live in my computer .... Member Posts: 409
    I totally forgot about this, my GP takes my blood pressure on the same side that I had some lymph nodes removed from with no problems.
  • Brenda5Brenda5 Burrum Heads, QldMember Posts: 1,974
    My breast nurse coughed one up for me when I had a chemo nurse arguing to use my no lymph arm. You can wear it in the shower and everything. I could see mine would get grotty doing gardening and stuff so I ordered a few for myself from here.
  • ShareShare Member Posts: 217
    Hi ladies, thought I would add some recent information that I got. 

    After having 15 lymph nodes removed in 2003, I had not developed lymphodema until just before Christmas last year - yep 13 years later. There is evidence of women up to 15 years post surgery developing lymphodema.

    Not ever had I allowed a bp cuff or needle for bloods to go any where near my right arm until I was hospitalised In March last year with severe anemia and a lung infection.

    The IV blood transfusion was set up for my left arm because I told them not to use the right arm. However, when it came time to give me IV fluids and antibiotics, they attempted to use my feet which was incredibly painful. I persisted for a while but this was causing swelling in that limb. Apparently the same arm cannot be used for transfusion and fluids/antibiotics due to risk of cross contamination. I absolutely refuted the idea of using my right arm but until the port-a-cath was inserted on the 3rd day, I did not have much choice. As @Karenhappyquilter said, if it was to save my life - well I was pretty sick. So, the left arm was used. 

    I have been concerned about that since then however I am under the care of 2 physio's who are members of the Australian Lymphodema Association and both said that there is no clinical data that links the incidence of lympodema and the use of bp cuffs/needles on the same arm. It is the risk of infection and both physio's said that it could have been something as simple as an insect bite (mossie's being the heat of summer) or a small cut or scratch and not even aware of it. Even though I am super careful with hygiene and carry antiseptic gel in my handbag. As it was also the lead up to Christmas, there was also the suggestion of carrying slightly heavy bags on that arm for longer than usual !  

    Thanks for the info on the link too @Brenda5  - super helpful. 

    I agree though, more studies into lymphodema would be great but hey - money does not grow on trees. I guess if I am otherwise managing my secondary bc and am otherwise "healthy" then I am ok with it (although the bugger of a compression sleeve is so hot at the moment !! :s )
  • iserbrowniserbrown Regional VictoriaMember Posts: 2,470
    It's the hidden extras, BC keeps on giving - what a so and so to get to near on 13 years and this bobs up!  Take care
  • ShareShare Member Posts: 217
    Thanks @iserbrown & best wishes to you too x
  • AfraserAfraser MelbourneMember Posts: 1,557
    What really bad luck! I wan't too keen on getting lymphoedema but I think I would have been more distressed getting it so late. My German sleeve is remarkably good at keeping my arm cool on hot days, but I haven't found any way round the struggle to get it on in the first place on humid mornings.
  • melclaritymelclarity Member Posts: 3,078
    Hey! I have to agree with @Afraser and @Karenhappyquilter I also was told by head of Oncology that they do prefer to not use the affected arm however it makes little difference at all, you can in fact use both arms for BP and blood tests :) 
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