When Bernie Dorizzi first became a MedicAlert Foundation member because of a bee sting allergy, he never in his wildest dreams thought that decision would be one that saved his life nearly two decades later.
The 66-year-old Western Australia truck driver was walking into work for the start of his shift in early January 2013 when he suddenly collapsed unconscious in front of stunned workmates, who rushed to his aid.
“He just passed out without warning, hitting his head on the way down - and while his workmates put him into a recovery position and called for an ambulance, they didn’t have a complete understanding of his medical history,” says wife Pam.
“Bernie was desensitised to bee stings a long time ago, but thankfully he stayed as a MedicAlert member in the years to follow because he developed diabetes later in life, is prescribed Warfarin and has had stents.”
As luck would have it, an ambulance station was only a short distance away, but in those precious minutes waiting for the crew to respond; those at his side say his faint pulse was soon not detectable at all.
“It all happened so quickly that by the time I got told that Bernie had collapsed the ambulance had rushed him to hospital, and when I arrived the doctors and nurses already knew his blood type and had life-saving details about his current medical conditions,” Pam says.
“None of his workmates were able to give specific details about his health conditions, but Bernie’s MedicAlert bracelet was able to relay vital information to paramedics that helped in providing the best response.”
“When I arrived at hospital it wasn’t good news – I was told he might have no more than 24 hours to live, was in renal failure, on oxygen and dialysis and he spent four days in an induced coma, but in the weeks that followed his condition gradually improved.”
“The rapid response from medical crews using the information provided by his MedicAlert bracelet is what allows Bernie to be alive today and well on the road to recovery – I have no doubt that the bracelet saved his life.”
“We’ve wanted peace of mind, and it has been important for us to regularly update Bernie’s medical details held on file throughout the years,” Pam says.
“We’ve been married for more than 44 years, and we hope to celebrate many more anniversaries for years to come and while Bernie has decided to relax and enjoy life more, one thing that he won’t take for granted is wearing his MedicAlert bracelet and keeping his medical files up to date.”
Pam says their experience is a lesson that everyone with an allergy or medical condition can learn from.
“If you have a medical problem then wear a MedicAlert bracelet or necklace all the time – it saved my husband’s life and provided vital information when valuable seconds counted,” she says.