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Models for Medical jewelry

Thanks for all the input on my post regarding the medical alert
jewelry. My sister was an EMT, and I unfortunately have a few
hundred frequent flier miles on the ambulances (asthma, food
allergies), so yes, I know how darned important they are! I just
tend to want to leave the “army dog tag” look behind when I go out
somewhere nice, and informal polling shows I’m not the only one.

I have already contacted several of the Emergency Medical Tech forums
and got their input. I also have the names and addresses of the
emergency journals they read that I will be at least submitting pics
and an article to. So yes, I know marketing to the emergency
responders is the first priority. I will be taking the preliminary
designs around to a few of the ER and ambulance companies in town for
input before even submitting them for modelling. I’ll also be
including a sheet that the buyer can take or send to the local fire
department or ambulance companies (usually the first responders).

FYI, for any of those of you who do occasionaly make them, the most
common thing they told me on the EMS forums is that most of the
charms and pendants are WAY too tiny, and becoming more so.
Apparantly the major players in the medical jewelry industry in an
effort to make the medical ID’s more appealing to the masses
(instead of more attractive) are making them smaller and are losing
sight of the function, which is

Under 1 inch in length is a impractical. Most “charms” they are
seeing are less than 1/2 inch around. The italian charm bracelets
are a joke, they are so small they can’t see the emblem, much less
the lettering. The 800 numbers and no medical data are often a
waste of critical time, if they can ever get someone to answer.
Many of the bracelets get cut off, because they are just as hard to
get off as they are to put on (that darned double J clasp). Some of
the older EMT’s actually don’t even look for a tag, but for the huge
curb chain

As to engraving - lets just say that unless the engraving is set off
in black patina and at least in 8 point block letters then reading
the thing in a parking lot, train/subway station, or the back of an
ambulance at night is mostly guesswork from a couple letters. In
hospitals they may be readable, but for first responders (EMT and
Firefighters/medics) please use decent point size.

The cadeucus symbol (twin snakes, winged staff) is not the universal
emergency symbol. The caduceus is typically viewed by people in the
medical profession as denoting that the wearer is also in the
medical profession. The exception seems to be “Miss Brooke’s
Medicharms” which acording to Mothers of Asthmatics and the Food
Allergy and Anaphalaxis Network forums tend to do a good job of
getting kids to actually wear an alert medallion (apparantly not a
small feat) and have enough of the catchy red around the cadeucus to
be saving quite a few lives if your customers like teddy bears,
hearts, trains, frogs, football helmets, etc. Although these charms
are fairly small in comparison to their “dogtag” pendant, on a
child’s body they stand out enough, and it’s fairly obvious if a
child is having an airway obstruction vs. a diabetic crisis, which
are usually the two most common reasons kids need to wear them. The
"star of life" is considered the universal medical symbol. (flat
edged six sided star with single snake around a staff). The blue
star of life from the National Highway Traffic Safety Admin is based
on the red American Medical Assn’s. "Universal Emergency Symbol"
which I can’t find or get a copy of to even look at from the AMA,
but apparantly the main difference is that the NHTSA made the sides
of the star flat and is blue to denote emergnecy medical workers
whereas the AMA version had a concave curve and is red. The AMA’s
version is expressly copyright free if you can ever find it. “Medic
Alert” is a registered trade name and trademark, therefore a no-no
to mention unless you are actually selling their brand. So you
see, I have been doing my research for a bit before bringing this to
you all.

Hugs,
Tina McDonald

Hi Tina:

Check out the two following sites - in particular the first one.
They make bracelets with the AMA symbol on them.

http://www.advantagerx.com/a-sosbracelets.htm

http://www.oneida-medical-jewelry.com/ This company has the following
statement on their website:

All items bear the official emergency medical alert symbol designed
by the American Medical Association for universal use.

Perhaps this may be helpful to you.

Kay

Hi -

Just received a catalog from Fire Mountain Gems, and they have a
medic alert bracelet with the standard metal piece/recognizable
logo, but the bracelet band is made of beads. Thought this might be
an interesting way to combine the needed aspect of the bracelet but
it’s much nicer looking.

Dwindy

     The "star of life" is considered the universal medical symbol.
 (flat edged six sided star with single snake around a staff) 

just had to jump in here… maybe " US"iversal might be more
accurate … I’m from the UK, now based in Australia, and I’ve never
ever seen this symbol anywhere…of course I could be walking around
with my eyes shut again :slight_smile:

    just had to jump in here... maybe " US"iversal might be more
accurate ... I'm from the UK, now based in Australia, and I've
never ever seen this symbol anywhere.. 

I believe you are correct. The Star of Life is a symbol used by the
American Emergency Medical Services (EMS). It was trademarked in the
name of the National Highway Traffic Safety and Administration and
represents the six-system function of the EMS. I also belive that
the “Universal Medical Symbol” is still the caduseus (winged staff,
snakes twined).

So, since you’re from the UK, now based in Australia, do those
countries have Medic Alert-type bracelets, etc.? If so, what sort of
symbol is used, if not the Star of Life? Thank you.

James in SoFl

         The "star of life" is considered the universal medical
symbol. (flat edged six sided star with single snake around a
staff) 

I have to agree with Christine, I have two different medical alert
designs, one the "traditional Star of life, and also a round disk
with a serpent wound round a staff and the words Medical alert arched
around it. Today while shopping at the Wal-Mart for dog food I
stopped at the jewelry counter (it’s fun to listen to totally
untrained people try and explain the differences in their gem stones
and Diamond grades) when Up jump the devil here was a new type of
medical alert jewelry unlike any other I have seen, SO I am guessing
(notice I didn’t say assuming) that there is a very limited share of
liability regarding any specific shape or design of Medical Alert
jewelry as for it not being recognized by a health care or emergency
medical personnel.

I realize that we live in a completely asinine, over litigious
society, that will sue any one for any reason! and there are enough
money grubbing attorney’s that will handle it, I once had a lady try
and sue me because she had an allergic reaction to sterling silver
earring studs. In New Mexico the suit didn’t get very far So I hope I
can still sell these Medical alert tags,

Cheers Y’all
Kenneth Ferrell
Waiting for the sun

You may easily find the symbol you speak of in any dictionary, but
there is no star symbol within it. The “Caduceus” is the symbol of
the medical profession and is a winged staff with two entwined
snakes.

    So, since you're from the UK, now based in Australia, do those
countries have Medic Alert-type bracelets, etc.? If so, what sort
of symbol is used, if not the Star of Life? 

Hello James, the caduceus is used, sometimes together with a red
cross on all “medi- alert” bracelets that I have seen, and they all
seem to be the same oval shape and just as an aside, I don’t think
I’ve ever seen pendants or any other sort of alert jewellery other
than the bracelets, but I might just not have noticed them…It would
be interesting to know what other countries have, and if there is
some sort of international register.

Christine in S Aust

Well, after months of telephone calls and correspondence to the
American Medical Association (who still hasn’t "officially"
responded since they don’t remember their in-house graphic artist
from 1964 or the symbol she created that’s saved more lives than
anyone can imagine) and the National Highway Transportation Safety
Administration (NHTSA), I finally have a definitive answer for the
rest of you who may have been interested in designing medical
jewelry but were afraid to because of various legal issues (i.e.
copyright infringement and liability issues).

I recently ordered every possible publication from the NHTSA
regarding the “Star of Life” and Emergency Services. I went to
check my mail earlier, and I found a pretty large parcel. Five
hours later, I found the small brochure #DOT HS 808 721 ("star of
Life - Emergnecy MEdical Care Symbol - Backgrounds, Specifications,
and Criteria) was most helpful AND readable. While it admitted that
the “Star of Life” was based on the AMA’s symbol (yeah the one the
AMA doesn’t remember having), the NHTSA did register their specific
star as a trademark (basically without the hexagon surround of the
AMA’s symbol and with a sleeker snake and staff).

Under the “criteria and Specifications for the use of the Star of
Life Symbol” portion it states that the NHTSA authorizes federal and
state agencies to permit the use of the “star of Life” symbol for
the following purposes: …

#4: “On bracelets or other items of apparel worn by a patient to
inform authorized emergency medical care providers to medical
conditions or to identify appropriate treatment with regard to that
patient, in accordance with programs established by as State or
Federal agency involved in the provision of emergency medical care”

#8: By entrepeneurs engaged in the production of medical equipment
and supplies or the publication of materials described above.

it goes on to state

"the following restrictions apply to the use of the “star of Life”

  1. As a registered certification mark, the “Star of Life” must
    always be accompanied by the symbol consisting of a capital R
    surrounded by a circle. This marking shall appear immediately
    adjacent to the star of life on all decals…pins,…name plates,
    etc.

  2. The specifications below include a sample of the registered blue
    "star of life" symbol and identify the color of the symbol and its
    dimensions. Deviations in size may be made, providing they are
    proportionment. Other deviations may be made, providing that they
    create the same commercial impression created by the registration
    mark.

(One of those deviations would probably mean color, since the blue
usually indicates the provider and the red the patient, at least
here in the USA. Or just plain old gold or silver would work!)

The brochure also includes camera ready art and is free! Let’s rid
the country of ugly medical dog tags!

Thanks again for everyones support!

Tina Mcdonald
@tlmcd

    Administration (NHTSA), I finally have a definitive answer for
the 

Excellent job on the research. But keep it going, you have NOT
gotten the “definitive” answer yet.

    (One of those deviations would probably mean color, since the
blue usually indicates the provider and the red the patient, at
least here in the USA.  Or just plain old gold or silver would
work!) 

Now you’ve leapt from what it says to what you want it to mean. The
red is clearly a reasonable GUESS but it’s still just a guess based
on many obvious apparent precedents in the marketplace. The “just
plain old gold or silver” is a much farther out guess which, while it
may not get a hassle from NHTSA, may very well be a major liability
issue should EMTs MISS it to the significant detriment of a patient.

Neither the AMA nor the NHTSA will provide YOU with legal advice and
most certainly not any approval or disapproval of any specific
implementation let alone approval or disapproval of a broad plan of
implementation. I still STRONGLY suggest you get a written legal
opinion from a solid attorney with their reputation and malpractice
insurance on the line. I’ll bet it will make certain stipulations
that do not give you all the leeway you want.

Just for sport I Google searched images with ‘"medical alert"
bracelet’ to see how “obvious” some providers are making the symbol.
You’ll find lots of leeway—some might be way past the line
too—but the vast majority I suspect you would still classify as
"ugly medical dog tags." I think there is a legitimate reason for
that which is soundly based on the best interests of the wearer WHEN
THE INFO IS ESSENTIAL rather than when it isn’t.

James E. White
Inventor, Marketer, and Author of “Will It Sell? How to Determine If
Your Invention Is Profitably Marketable (Before Wasting Money on a
Patent)” Info Sites: www.willitsell.com www.inventorhome.com,
www.idearights.com www.taletyano.com www.booksforinventors.com

Hi James,

 Neither the AMA nor the NHTSA will provide YOU with legal advice
and most certainly not any approval or disapproval of any specific
implementation let alone approval or disapproval of a broad plan
of implementation. I still STRONGLY suggest you get a written legal
opinion from a solid attorney with their reputation and
malpractice insurance on the line. I'll bet it will make certain
stipulations that do not give you all the leeway you want. 

Oh ye of little faith! I do now have a “definitive” answer from the
AMA. I talked with the VP of professional standards again (I think
he finally realized I wasn’t going to give up and I was going to
call him every week until I got that definitive answer) and told him
that

  1. the National Highway Transportation Safety Admin. (NHTSA)
    published in their brochure that they modified the AMA symbol.

  2. I found the name of the graphic artist who designed the symbol
    for the AMA 40 years ago and spoke with her.

  3. She gave me the name of the doctor that assigned her the project.

  4. Said doc had no less than 5 articles written to various medical
    journals in the 60’s and 70’s and gave him the article numbers for
    the National Institute of Health identifiers to be able to located
    the article.

He faxed me a very nice note stating that after our conversation he
went back through the archives and that “I (he), and noone else
currently at the AMA realized we had created this symbol, which
appears on every ambulance vehicle in the country, nor that we had
given it to the public domain. You are certainly free to use the
symbol for the purposes stated in the AMA’s 1963 and 1964
announcements. I am enclosing a copy of the AMA’s 1963 statement
and a copy of the (slightly modifed yet) symbol printed by the
former US Department of Health, Education, and Welfare (USDHEW).”

The 1963 statement clearly states that “This symbol may appear in
any size and color”.

If ANYONE wants a copy of the three different versions of the symbol
(AMA, USDHEW, and NHTSA) and the 1963 AMA statement and the 1964
USDHEW symbol brochure, I will be more than happy to scan them and
either email them or post them under the Ganoskin galleries.

re: my “leap” regarding color on the NHTSA brochure (which is now
kind of mute with the AMA’s recognition of public domain on their
symbol and statement it could be any size and color) was based on a
number of different states laws on Lexus/Nesux legal search
designating color assignments regarding the types of personnel and
badges as well as patches that they could wear, not on “what I
wanted it to say”. If the states could change the color, then NHTSA
would have been hard pressed (not impossible, but highly improbable)
to make a case that changing the color to the currently most common
colors for medical identification symbols was a trademark
infringement. Perhaps I should have made the fact that I’d already
researched that a bit clearer.

re: the liability issue, my attorney who is a very prominent
intellectual property and contract attorney stated weeks ago that
"anyone can sue anybody over anything. The key is to demonstrate
and document every step of a good faith effort in terms of research
and issue a disclaimer on every piece of marketing material that you
use along with a disclaimer sent with the actual product." No, I
didn’t get it in writing, but did I mention that I tape or
transcribe (if person refuses to be taped) important business phone
conversations? She agreed to be taped.

Ironically, since she knows me so well from working with a former
employer, she 1)told me there was no reason for me to hire her to do
the trademark and copyright search and application work, since I was
more diligent and persistant than anyone she has ever known (she did
NOT make it sound like a compliment). She said to just call her
if I run into stumbling blocks down the road.

I have taken numerous graduate level law courses for CPE
requirements for the accounting society I’d belonged to at one
point. She’s asked me 9 years ago after working together on a
former employer’s issue why I didn’t go on to try for the bar exam.
On this particular issue, I’d been more persistant than she was, had
transcribed the conversation with the auditor (since auditor refused
to be taped), and sent the transcript to the head of the govt
agency, who rescinded the audit, reaudited (with a differnet auditor
who asked for a copy of my tape with him to cover his behind),
reversed the decision and I saved the employer $80,000. The
attorney refunded her hefty fee, which is probably why she remembers
how darned persistant and diligent I am.

The reason I didn’t become an attorney - I don’t debate well for
issues (um, clients) I think are morally in the wrong, and I don’t
do well with doubletalk. I pretty much let my opinion be known.

She did help me by giving me the class number for the trademark form
(Class 014 for precious metal jewelry and its “imitations”) and
suggested using a less “descriptive” tradename than the one I’d been
thinking about.

She also reinforced that due to international laws, contracting with
only US and Canadian firms would cause me much less headache and
money due to legal paperwork filing overseas and that there are a
few countries where labor is much cheaper that do not honor
"international" copyright laws on certain items, so the
subcontracted manufacturers are legally able to steal and reproduce
your design. (Actually happened to a jeweler client of hers).

P.S. Medic-Alert and SOS (Swiss company with largest international
market share) have been making medical ID jewelry in plain gold and
silver for over 27 years that I know of.

Sincerely,
Tina McDonald
@tlmcd

Hi Tina,

    Oh ye of little faith!  I do now have a "definitive" answer
from the AMA.  I talked with the VP of professional standards again
(I think he finally realized I wasn't going to give up and I was
going to call him every week until I got that definitive answer)
and told him that 

Congratulations on your bulldog tenacity (and I mean that in a
complimentary way). Now you have 1 of 3 answers in definitive form,
the one about the AMA origins and their apparent donation of it to
the public domain.

    The 1963 statement clearly states that "This symbol may appear
in any size and color". If ANYONE wants a copy of the three
different versions of the symbol (AMA, USDHEW, and NHTSA) and the
1963 AMA statement and the 1964 USDHEW symbol brochure, I will be
more than happy to scan them and either email them or post them
under the Ganoskin galleries. 

Excellent plan. And, if you might, have the tenacity to get it
posted at the AMA site too and it wouldn’t be a bad idea to try for
NHTSAs web pages either.

    re: my "leap" regarding color on the NHTSA brochure (which is
now kind of mute with the AMA's recognition of public domain on
their symbol and statement it could be any size and color) was
based on a 

Essentially it appears the “off the cuff non-lawyer” requirements
given to you by NHTSA was WRONG relative to their trademark which is
registered as BLUE only (and without the AMA’s enclosing hexagon).
Further their blue version, per their actual registration,
specifically stipulates:

THE CERTIFICATION MARK IS USED BY PERSONS AUTHORIZED BY APPLICANT TO
CERTIFY THAT EMERGENCY MEDICAL CARE VEHICLES MEET U.S. DEPARTMENT OF
TRANSPORTATION STANDARDS (CLASS A), THE EMERGENCY MEDICAL CARE
PERSONNEL OPERATING THE VEHICLE HAVE BEEN TRAINED TO MEET U.S.
DEPARTMENT OF TRANSPORTATION STANDARDS (CLASS B), OR BOTH

Which essentially means you technically are not allowed to use a
blue (non-hexagon enclosed) version to symbolize a wearer medical
requirement. (So now you have a more? definitive answer on the NHTSA
version—don’t use it for sure in blue and don’t use the
r-in-a-circle registration symbol.)

And further (not that you’ve suggested you’ll infringe other related
trademarks but to preclude others who might make such a mistake) if
you search “medic alert” in the US registered trademarks as owner
and/or “combo” you’ll find the Medic Alert Foundation which has
control of those words and a symbol (including the words and a staff
and “cut” snake) and a specific “bracelet design” shape of an
"ellipse with pointed ends". (see
http://www.medicalert.org/Home/homegradient.aspx)

    re: the liability issue, my attorney who is a very prominent
intellectual property and contract attorney stated weeks ago that
"anyone can sue anybody over anything.  The key is to demonstrate 

Essentially I agree with your attorney but YOU seem to be
bulldogedly missing the main liability point. On the line from “ugly
VISIBLE” to “beautiful (nearly) INvisible” you certainly might be
sued anywhere—BUT I think your attorney will also tell you the
farther you get toward the “beautiful (nearly) INvisible” the
probability of a suit rises dramatically, as does the liability. And,
I suspect your attorney will also tell you, disclaimers have their
limits—especially if a court decides they are really a "bad faith"
attempt at appearing to imply that some nearly invisible symbol
hidden on some piece of jewelry WILL satisfactorily perform it’s
intended alerting function. (So really there can be no "definitive"
spot answer to this liability issue.)

You’re the one that has to draw the line with your
jewelry—appearances from the Google image search seem to show that
many (wisely) draw the line more toward the “ugly VISIBLE” which will
make the odds of them being liable vanishingly small and the odds of
a suit against them very small. Of course we now definitively know
that your use of the original AMA emblem (or perhaps the slightly
modified NHTSA version) in jewelry can’t be in blue and can’t be on
an ellipse with pointed ends or include or imply “Medic Alert” unless
you qualify for and license rights to those latter two.

Good job ferreting out the appropriate But please make
a calculated decision on where you are WILLING (both in financial
liability and human grief terms) to fall on that line rather than
just picking a spot because you CAN and your aesthetic bias leans
toward “beautiful (nearly) INvisible”.

James E. White
Inventor, Marketer, and Author of “Will It Sell? How to Determine If
Your Invention Is Profitably Marketable (Before Wasting Money on a
Patent)” Info Sites: www.willitsell.com www.inventorhome.com,
www.idearights.com www.taletyano.com www.booksforinventors.com

Tina, I congratulate you on the persistence with which you got to
the bottom line concerning the AMA and models for medical
jewelry.You wrote : " I think he finally realized I wasn’t going to
give up and I was going to call him every week until I got that
definitive answer." That is what the search for knowledge is all
about - never give up ! That is what Orchid is all about and so this
very example is a perfect one for all the beginners, as well as
advanced seekers of knowledge. Thank you for being the perfect
example. Don’t stop.

I, too, had to take on the job of boring through a mile of red tape,
layers of ignorance, and City Hall - literally calling them every
single day for weeks. It finally got them off their duffs to
research what I maintained was true and it was !

So, sure it takes precious time - but what an accomplishment to be
proud of and share with the whole industry what we need - accuracy
and honesty. THANK YOU ! Job well done.

Pat

I just wanted to thank everyone so much for all the help in finding
bulk chain by the foot sources. You guys are awesome.

Also thanks to everyone who offered encouragement (and caution) on
the medical alert jewelry. I think I’ve emailed the letter from the
AMA to everyone who asked for proof of permission to use the symbol,
let me know if anyone else is interested. I can’t quite find a
place to post it on Orchid.

I’ll be putting on my “other hat” for a while later this month
during the U.S. income tax preparation season (Did I REALLY just
tell another preparer that I’d take all her clients while she took a
sabattical?), so I’ll see if I’m able to keep up with the list and
my new passion.

Thanks again,

Tina McDonald
@tlmcd