Member Stories

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Cat Burns


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Name: Cat Burns
Age: 35
Conditions: Brugada syndrome, bradycardia, S-ICD
Wears: Classic Bracelet, Dog Tag

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"In the event of injury or any emergency, if I’m unable to communicate, medical staff are trained to check the wrists and necks of patients for a medical ID, so they will be immediately alerted about my medical conditions. My MedicAlert bracelet does not leave me when I'm out, it gives me complete confidence."


There are many forms of heart conditions, with some more common than others; Brugada syndrome is less common, but a serious condition that can result in arrhythmias which could be fatal.

MedicAlert member Cat Burns knows only too well the struggles of not only reaching the diagnosis and managing the condition, but also of coping with the loss of loved ones as a result.

It was shortly after her university finals in 2010 that Cat had a special challenge - a drug-assisted ECG- following an early ‘all-clear’ diagnosis. Feeling unsure and concerned that the initial ajmaline challenge had not provided a diagnosis, she decided to seek a second opinion. This time, Cat was given an unexpected positive result for Brugada syndrome.

“Our family had never heard of Brugada syndrome and I had little knowledge of sudden arrhythmic death syndrome (SADS), let alone appreciated the frequency with which it strikes people of all ages, especially young adults.

Sadly this knowledge came with the sudden loss of a cousin, who died unexpectedly after crossing the finish line of a half-marathon; he was just 28 and had been fit and healthy all his life. Subsequent testing of his immediate and extended family demonstrated a relatively strong inheritance of this cardiac condition.

In the knowledge that my mother also had inherited the condition, I knew there was a 50:50 chance that I could also be affected. Following my confirmed diagnosis, I started to make plans. I decided to set new tasks such as undertaking a physical fundraising event that meant really focusing on a demanding training regime and I also decided to take control of my condition.

My consultant and the team could not have been better and it was with their support that within one month, having the time to think about the options presented to me, I decided to have an Implantable Cardioverter-Defibrillator (ICD) fitted. Fortunately for me, I was able to have a newer type of ICD called Subcutaneous Implantable Cardioverter Defibrillator (S-ICD). A less invasive procedure was carried out whereby the implant is fitted under the skin on the left side of the chest. Unlike a traditional ICD there isn’t the scar or visibility of the generator that can appear in some people.

I was concerned that in an emergency the likelihood of immediate recognition that I had an S-ICD was slim, so it was this concern that led me to MedicAlert."


"There were other companies around that provided similar types of ID jewellery; however, MedicAlert are the only ones that provide full reassurance due to the unique aspects of the membership."


"The fact that the emergency phone line is manned by the Ambulance Service with a translation service in over 100 languages gave me great peace of mind. Also, very convincing to me was the fact that all my medical details would be checked by a qualified nurse, ensuring that my record was medically sound and would not be detrimental to my treatment in an emergency.

I am so grateful that I haven’t had to use the 24-hour emergency line; however, I have found that wearing my bracelet has helped in so many other circumstances. Most people haven’t heard of Brugada Syndrome, let alone understand it. Therefore, when I’ve had to declare it on forms for dentists or class instructors, a look of alarm usually appears;it’s often alleviated when I reassure them I am wearing MedicAlert jewellery.

Keeping my emergency record and jewellery updated also means I no longer need to rely on others. If you ask yourself how many people know, let alone could remember important and accurate information about another’s condition, allergy or medication, in what might be a stressful situation for them, it is unlikely they would be able to name many.

For me, as this list has grown, it would be unfair on whoever might be with me in an emergency. I do have information with me, in my purse, most of the time, but this could easily be separated from me, but I never take off my MedicAlert jewellery. In the event of injury or any emergency, if I’m unable to communicate, medical staff are trained to check the wrists and necks of patients for a medical ID, so they will be immediately alerted about my medical conditions.”


“This is why I chose MedicAlert and I continue to benefit from the peace of mind that my emergency record and jewellery provide.”


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