Osher Deri Died from Severe Allergy to Milk

Israelis were shocked recently to learn of the death of 23 year old Osher Deri on Wednesday, April 14, 2021, from a severe milk allergy. Osher was given milk whipped cream in an all meat kosher restaurant instead of non-dairy whipped cream. Not only is a meat restaurant not supposed to serve any dairy products, but consuming dairy products right after a meat meal is forbidden according to Jewish law. An all meat restaurant can only serve parve non-dairy products. When Osher felt like she was getting an allergic reaction she told the waiters that she had eaten something with milk. They argued with her even though they had purchased milk ice cream instead of non-dairy cream. Later they claimed this had been purchased in error. Tragically, Osher did not have an epi-pen of epinephrine to take immediately in order not to go into anaphylactic shock. Somehow she managed to drive herself to the hospital, although someone at the restaurant should have called for an ambulance. After she arrived at the hospital she was finally given a shot of epinephrine, but it was too late to save her and she died.

Efrat Chen Died from Severe Allergy to Nuts

This was not the first time that a young person died from an allergic reaction at a restaurant. In 2011, Efrat Chen age 26 was eating out in Tel Aviv with friends. She ordered Belgian waffles with chocolate spread and the waitress told her more than once that the chocolate spread on her Belgian waffles did not contain nuts. However, it turned out to be Nutella a chocolate spread with hazel nuts and she collapsed and was taken to the hospital, but died after a few days.

Epi-pens in Restaurants

As a result of these tragedies, the idea has come up for restaurants to stock up on Epi-pens to be used in similar emergencies. However, this could potentially cause more harm than good unless the restaurant staff receive proper training in the use of an epi-pen. Epinephrine (adrenalin) is a very powerful and potentially dangerous drug if it is administered to someone who does not really need it. Epinephrine raises blood pressure, stimulates the heart and increases the heartbeat, which is necessary for someone who is suffering from a severe allergic reaction like anaphylactic shock. However, we shudder to think of what could happen if someone passed out from some cardiovascular problem like a heart attack or stroke, and an inexperienced waiter ran up and jabbed them in the thigh with epinephrine. This actually could lead to severe outcomes including instant death.

Research shows Epi-pen may be Ineffective if it is not Administered Correctly

Also, research shows that it is necessary to be properly trained in the use on an epi-pen or it may be ineffective. There is only one specific place on the outer thigh where it must be injected. Otherwise it may be ineffective.  Even if a person has been injected with an epi-pen, they still must be taken to a hospital in an ambulance, as epinephrine quickly wears off. In the ER doctors may decide to administer a second injection of epinephrine.

Medical Alert Bracelets or Pendants

However, there is a way that people can be alerted to medical conditions even if the person is unconscious and cannot speak. The number one way to protect people with serious medical conditions like severe food allergies is to have them wear a medical alert type of bracelet or pendant engraved with ALLERGY to… A medical alert bracelet can save lives, especially when a person experiencing anaphylactic shock has fallen unconscious and cannot speak to tell anyone that they have allergies. A medical alert bracelet can help alert onlookers that a person suffers from severe allergies and first responders can treat them with epinephrine even before they arrive at the ER.

Medical Alert Logo

The classical medical alert logo on the tags is a serpent wrapped around a staff. It is believed that this comes from the Book of Numbers in the Torah when Moses appears with his staff before Pharaoh. It is important that all medical alert tags carry this same logo in order that first responders, doctors, nurses and healthcare workers will redognize it no matter what country they live in.

Medical Alert Bracelets can Save Lives and Money

A medical alert bracelet is not only for saving lives of people with severe allergies, but also can save people with other potentially life threatening medical conditions. Countless lives are lost every year and precious time is wasted when someone is brought into the ER unconscious or unable to speak and the doctors have to try to figure out what is wrong with them. There are many disease conditions that resemble each other. In fact, a person could have more than one serious medical condition. A person with diabetes could be mistaken for a person who is drunk or having a stroke. In fact, a diabetic could actually be having problems with insulin or sugar levels and also having a stroke or a heart attack. Also, a medical alert bracelet or pendant can help doctors prescribe drugs according to a patient’s specific medical conditions. For instance, certain drugs must not be given to people with glaucoma or they can experience more serious vision loss. Other drugs can cause bleeding and should never be given to people on blood thinning drugs or to someone who has hemophilia. Some drugs can cause seizures and should never be given to someone with epilepsy. Some kinds of medicines must never be given to diabetics, as they can interact against medicines that keep their glucose or insulin levels in balance. The same goes for patients with coronary heart disease, heart failure, high blood pressure, etc. In the ER seconds count, so every bit of medical information about unconscious patients can save their lives.

Some Medical Conditions that Require Medical Alert Bracelets or Pendants

Some medical conditions can be on ready-made tags, while others need added engraved information. Here are some of the conditions that require a person to wear a medical alert bracelet or pendant:

Allergies

Some Common Allergies

  • Bee, wasp, hornet or yellow jacket stings
  • Beef and vaccines of meds that contain bovine proteins
  • Cephalexin
  • Cephalosporin
  • Chicken
  • Chocolate
  • Clindamycin
  • Codeine
  • Contrast Dye
  • Dairy – Cow’s, Goat’s or Sheep’s milk & products like cheeses, whipped cream, ice-cream, pizza, etc.
  • Dilantin
  • Doxycycline  
  • Egg
  • Erythromycin
  • Fentanyl
  • Fruits such as apple, apricot, avocado, cherries, peaches, pear, plum, kiwi, melon, strawberries, watermelon and more
  • Garlic
  • Gluten
  • Iodine
  • Latex
  • Lidocaine
  • Morphine
  • Morphine Sulfate
  • Nitrous Oxide
  • Novocaine
  • Onion
  • Nuts
  • Peanuts
  • Penicillin
  • Sesame
  • Shellfish
  • Soy
  • Tomato
  • Wheat

More Medical Conditions that Require Medical Alert Tagging on Bracelet or Pendant

  • Adrenal Insufficiency – Addison’s Disease
  • Alzheimer’s disease (AD) or dementia
  • Angina                   
  • Asperberger’s Syndrome
  • Atrial fibrillation (A-fib)
  • Autism         
  • Blind
  • Blood Pressure (BP)
  • Blood thinners
  • Cancer Chemotherapy (CT)
  • Cardiovascular (CV)
  • Celiac          
  • Cerebral Palsy (CP)
  • Crohn’s Disease
  • Collapsed Sella Syndrome
  • Congestive Heart Failure (CHF)
  • Coronary Heart Disease (CHD)   
  • Deaf  
  • Deep Vein Thrombosis (DVT)
  • Diabetes Type II
  • Diabetes Type I
  • Diabetes Insipidus – prone to dehydration
  • Diabetic Retinopathy         
  • Down Syndrome (DS)
  • Epilepsy (EPI) or seizures
  • Epinephrine Pen (EpiPen)
  • Fibromyalgia (FMS)
  • Gall Bladder Disease
  • Gastric Ulcer
  • Gastric Bypass (Bariatric Surgery)
  • Glaucoma    
  • Heart &/or lung transplant
  • Hemophilia   
  • HIV/AIDS     
  • Huntington’s disease (HD)
  • Hypertension (HT)
  • Kidney disease with dialysis or kidney transplant
  • Liver disease or liver transplant
  • Lung diseases such as COPD or asthma
  • Lupus (SLE)
  • Lymphedema (LE)
  • Macular Degeneration (AMD)
  • Mentally Handicapped
  • Mitral Valve Prolapse (MVP)
  • Multiple Sclerosis (MS)
  • Muscular Dystrophy (MD)
  • Myasthenia Gravis (MG)
  • Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (OCD
  • Parkinson’s disease (PD)
  •  Pacemaker (DDDR)
  • Postural Tachycardia Syndrome (POTS)
  • Renal Failure (ATN)
  • Schizophrenia
  • Shunt in brain
  • Spina Bifida (SB)
  • Stent Implant         
  • Stroke (FAST)
  • Tourette Syndrome (TS)
  • Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI)
  • Tuberculosis (TB)
  • Ventricular Tachycardia (VT/v tach)
  • Von Willebrand’s (VWF)

Name of HMO and Blood Type can be Engraved on the Tag

Medical alert tagging by a bracelet or pendant is so important that these should be issued by the HMOs. While there is not a lot of room on the tag on the bracelet or pendant, the name of the HMO could be engraved there such as the Israeli HMOs: Clalit, Maccabi, Leumit or Meuchedet. This could help doctors in the ER to contact the HMO to get more information about someone who has been brought in unconscious. Also the blood type of a person can also be engraved on the tag. This can speed up getting a blood transfusion when necessary.

Medical Alert Tagging not only Saves Lives but also Saves Billions of Dollars

One would think that since medical alert bracelets and pendants not only save lives, but also save billions of dollars that someone would have already thought that they should be issued by the HMOs. Apparently, there were a few commercial attempts in the past to introduce medical tagging to Israel, but they all seem to be out-of-business. A Google search has taken us nowhere and the phone number of a MediTag Israel company listed on FB is disconnected. However, medical alert bracelets and pendants are available from companies in the United States, the UK or China.

Medical Alert Bracelets and Pendants Should be Available from the HMOs

Doctors at the HMO should be able to prescribe a medical alert bracelet or pendant and patients should be able to get these from the HMO for free or at a discounted price.

The Minister of Health should be a Physician

Part of the problem in Israel may be that politicians rather than physicians head the Minister of Health portfolio. Perhaps it is time for a doctor to be appointed to be the Minister of Health? Unfortunately, we have not had a physician Health Minister since Dr. Efraim Sneh who was appointed by the late Yitzchak Rabin.

Conclusion

Let us hope and pray that medical alert tagging will be taken up by the HMOs in Israel and/or the Ministry of Health and thus many lives will be saved.