When five-year-old Mazie Stapleton was rushed to the Southmead Accident and Emergency Department, doctors were unaware that she suffered from a rare condition that can cause her heartbeat to stop without the correct treatment.
But mum Stacey Stapleton is hailing a new product that works with popular smartphones, developed by a Bristol-based company, for potentially saving her “inquisitive little angel’s” life.
Mazie was wearing a Tap2Tag Medical Alert key fob – which warned hospital emergency staff that Mazie suffers from Reflex Anoxics Siezures (RAS), a very rare condition that can cause fits, often confused with epilepsy, that briefly stops the heart in certain stressful circumstances.
The £8 key fob, which contains a chip that uses Near Field Communications (NFC) technology to connect to a smartphone, holds vital medical data about the wearer, which in some situations can literally be the difference between life and death.
Mazie, who attends Our Lady of Lords School, is now safely home in Kingswood with her two-year-old younger brother, Jesse, and Megan, her 11-year-old sister. And now her mum is warning other parents with children with unusual medical conditions to “spend just a few pounds” to ensure that doctors and paramedics know what they are dealing with in the vital first minutes of a diagnosis.
Mum Stacey said: “Mazie is a very inquisitive little girl, like any youngster, and she is always into something, and so when she came home with berries that I instinctively felt were poisonous, I took her straight to hospital.
“I was beside myself with worry and at times like that, it is difficult in the panic of the moment to give doctors a quick, articulate and succinct summary of my little angel’s medical history.”
She added: “I was simply able to tap Mazie’s medical alert key fob on my phone which I was then able to share with emergency hospital staff, which explained fully they were dealing with an unusual situation. Nursing staff were amazed to see how the fob worked with my phone.”
As a result of the quick availability of her medical information, Mazie was treated appropriately for her condition and then discharged without the need for further treatment.
But mum Stacey is now adamant that what started out as a basic peace of mind investment in her daughter’s health, is something every parent should consider.
“This technology can either be worn on the wrist or attached to clothing or personal belongings, and can be the life-saving difference in those vital first moments when doctors need to make speedy decisions about your child’s life,” Stacey said. “Every parent should invest a few pounds in this peace of mind for their kids,” she added.
Kingswood-based Bristol company Tap2Tag has taken an ‘open source’ technology and focused on how it can be used to save lives and support patients and medical staff, especially in emergency situations.
Tap2Tag Managing Director Chris Ford said: “Tap2Tag Medical is a new application of technology, designed to help first-responders and paramedics gain instant access to critical medical information in an emergency.
“We designed the system to be affordable and easy to use. Since we launched the project in May this year we have been overwhelmed with the positive response from the public and medical profession alike.
“Anyone can potentially benefit from Tap2Tag Medical. However, for those with a known medical condition, like Mazie, the elderly or anyone taking prescribed drugs, it is particularly vital.”
A typical Tap2Tag Medical user wears a wristband, similar to popular rubber charity wristbands. Other users prefer to have a key fob, or to carry a card, or to display a sticker in their home. Some choose to use a combination.
Each device is embedded with a new technology, known as ‘NFC’ (near-field communication). NFC was designed for use with mobile phones. Virtually all Android and Windows smart phones have this technology.
In an emergency, for example when someone collapses, after calling the emergency services any passer-by or neighbour with an NFC-enabled mobile phone can ‘tap’ the patient’s device. With a couple of clicks they can gain instant access to information, which the wearer has chosen to disclose.