Highlands & Islands MSP, Rhoda Grant, is encouraging people with epilepsy in the Highlands and Islands to put ICE (In Case of Emergency) contact details on their mobile phones so that if they have a seizure, the emergency services or even the general public, can get in touch with their named family member or friend.
To further assist emergency personnel, Rhoda Grant has developed a pilot initiative offering free ICEberg wristbands to anyone with epilepsy. These purple and white silicon wrist bands, identify that the wearer has an ICE contact on their mobile device.
Rhoda Grant launched the scheme and gave away purple and white ICEberg wristbands at the Epilepsy Scotland information stand at 11am on Friday (20 November) outside the glass lift in the Eastgate Centre, Inverness.
“In my role as a regional MSP for the Highlands and Islands, I became aware of situations where people were found either unwell or in a distressed state in public and 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 have an ICE app on their mobile phone screen saver. Should a seizure happen, emergency personnel or the public will know who to call.”
Epilepsy Scotland’s Chief Executive Lesslie Young commented: “Much like an iceberg, epilepsy and how it affects the person tends to hidden unless or until a seizure happens. There are over 40 kinds of seizures, and each presents itself and affects the person differently.
"Some people can fall down and become unconscious for a few minutes. Others can act in a confused or what appears to be a strange manner and be unresponsive. There are over 800 people living with epilepsy in Inverness alone. However, more than a third of them continue to have seizures even with medication, so these ICEberg bands may be of great help to them. Hundreds of others across the Highlands and Islands could also benefit. “
“Our facebook followers welcome the idea of free wristbands for people with epilepsy because of the reassurance it offers to their families, friends and colleagues. If an emergency arises, those dealing with the situation will realise the person has epilepsy because of this wristband. The ICE details can then be used to contact the person’s family quickly.”
The founder of the ICE initiative, former paramedic, Bob Brotchie said: “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.”
Russell Henderson of Stagecoach Bus (Highland) added: “We are delighted to support community initiatives where they can and do make a positive difference to those living, working and visiting our communities. We wish all those connected to the ICEberg initiative well with their efforts.”