ICE plea for rapid help for those with epilepsy

Rhoda Grant MSP – renewed launch of ICE campaign.

A CAMPAIGN AIMED at encouraging people who suffer from epilepsy to place their emergency contact details on mobile phones has been renewed by a regional MSP.

Rhoda Grant has relaunched her 2015 campaign on the issue in the hope that many more people will become aware of ICE (In Case of Emergency) contact details on mobiles. By doing so, where a seizure is suffered then emergency services – or even members of the public – can quickly be in touch with a family member or friend who can provide ‘tailored’ treatment details.

Mrs Grant developed a pilot initiative a little over a year ago, offering free ICEberg (In Case of Emergency be empowered, ring a guardian) wristbands to anyone with epilepsy. The purple and white silicon wrist bands identify that the wearer has an ICE contact on their mobile device.

Speaking about the importance of this renewed initiative the MSP said: “In my role as a regional MSP for the Highlands and Islands including Moray, I became aware of situations where people were found either unwell or in a distressed state in public.

“The attending emergency service personnel had difficulty in identifying who to contact as next of kin. I was also aware of individuals who ended up in A&E with staff there being unable to identify the individual who was brought in. This got me thinking that there must be something we can do to address this issue.

“I talked with Epilepsy Scotland about trialling some kind of free epilepsy ID to help in medical situations. My team made contact with Stagecoach Bus and were successful in being awarded funding by this company which allowed us to purchase the ICEberg epilepsy wristbands.

“Wearers can put ICE (In Case of Emergency) details into their mobile phone contacts or they may already have an ICE app on their mobile phone screen saver. Should a seizure happen, emergency personnel, or indeed a member of the public will know who to call by checking the ICE contact or app.

“Since the initial launch we have been surprised by the number of people taking up the offer of the free wrist bands.”

The founder of the ICE initiative and a former paramedic, Bob Brotchie, added: “Imagine ringing the police because a relative or friend has not returned home. Imagine ringing the hospitals and they don’t have anyone with that person’s name, but they may have unidentified patients.

“Now, imagine what it’s like to be a paramedic, desperately trying to find the next of kin of someone having an epileptic seizure. This worry can be avoided by a simple action – put ICE details with the person’s name and number on your mobile phone or use an ICE app to list who you’d like to be contacted in the case of an emergency.

“Having notified your ICE contact and gathered information, the medical team can then treat you appropriately.”

Mrs Grant concluded: “This is the time of year, probably more than any other, when lots of people are out and about celebrating.

“Anyone whose epilepsy is not well controlled really should consider wearing the ICEberg wrist band. It will allow responders to ascertain the next of kin and very quickly get more details from them about the wearer’s condition. The wrist bands are free and can be sourced from my Inverness office.”