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MedicAlert Foundation urges people with haemophilia to better protect themselves



With April 17 marking World Haemophilia Day, MedicAlert Foundation has urged people with haemophilia and other inherited bleeding disorders to make non-medical precautions a compulsory part of their personal risk-management strategy.

More than 240,000 people globally have been diagnosed with haemophilia, including approximately 2,600 Australians, with varied degrees of severity.

Haemophilia, von Willebrand’s and other inherited clotting factor deficiencies are lifelong bleeding disorders that prevent blood from clotting properly, meaning that people with bleeding disorders could face a higher level of risk just by going about their daily lives.

MedicAlert Foundation CEO, Sandra Turner said that people with bleeding disorders want to strike a balance between managing their medical risks and living a full life.

“Some choose to become MedicAlert Foundation members knowing that the important medical information regarding their condition is available in an emergency if they can’t speak for themselves,” Ms Turner said.

“People with haemophilia don’t bleed any faster than normal, but they can bleed for longer and in a trauma situation, knowing someone has haemophilia or any other bleeding disorder can be critical to their care,” she said.

“Whether someone is at home, in the community or even travelling overseas, their possibly life-saving medical information is always with our members on the back of the distinctive MedicAlert emblem which is either worn around the neck or wrist.”

After being diagnosed with von Willebrand disorder after the birth of her son, Fiona Smith chose to become a MedicAlert Foundation member for additional piece of mind. The28-year old mother from Western Australian is using World Haemophilia Day to urge others to also make the same decision.

“Whether I am suddenly involved in a car crash or injure myself in some other way, it is important that a paramedic, doctor, nurse or some other health professional that comes to my aid is aware of my condition – especially if I am not conscious and unable to talk for myself,” Mrs Smith said.

“I know of incidents where people with von Willebrand disorder have tragically died because emergency crews didn’t know about their condition until it was too late, and when I was recently rushed to hospital my Medic Alert membership let the ambulance crew know immediately and they could administer the treatment I needed,” she said.

“You never know what life will throw at you, and becoming a MedicAlert member could mean that one day it saves my life during a situation where I have no control.”

For over 40 years, the Australia MedicAlert Foundation has been the nation’s only not-for-profit organisation providing a 24/7 personal medical emergency information and identification service.

To find out more about the MedicAlert Foundation and how to become a member, visit http://www.medicalert.org.au/

For more information about haemophilia, go to http://www.haemophilia.org.au/