Most of the time, tattoos and tattoo removal are a relatively lighthearted subject. You may regret your tattoo or it may not be exactly what you wanted, but it is rarely a life or death situation. Recently a case that has been circling news outlets poses a very interesting, and serious, question – should doctors honor a Do Not Resuscitate tattoo? Should you get your medical history or end of life wishes tattooed on your body?
You can read the full details of the case here, but to summarize, a 70-year-old man unconscious and in deteriorating condition was taken to an emergency room in Miami. The patient had a history of pulmonary disease and was intoxicated with an infection that had led to septic shock. On the patient’s chest was a tattoo that read “Do Not Resuscitate.” The word “not” was underlined and the patient’s signature was tattooed underneath the letters.
Doctors were left with an interesting ethical dilemma – did the patient’s tattoo actually reflect his wishes for end of life care? Or was the tattoo a joke? A similar case happened years ago when doctors treated a 59-year-old patient who had the letters “DNR” tattooed across the chest. The patient told the doctors that he would like for life saving measures to be taken, if needed, and to ignore the tattoo. When asked why he had the tattoo, the patient told the staff it was the result of a lost bet.
For the patient in Miami, an ethical consultant team was called in and the validity of the DNR order was verified and honored. The man died at the hospital the next day.
In our opinion, this is a good reminder that tattoos that can have serious and irreversible medical consequences should be avoided. If you truly want a DNR order, we suggest that you go through the proper channels and carry the documentation with you at all times.
If you have a tattoo of this nature and are looking to remove it, consider Remove a Tattoo – laser tattoo removal clinic. Remove a Tattoo is located in Glendale and serves the Greater Milwaukee Area. Call us today for your free consultation!