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Tattooing As Medical Alert
There are a variety of medical conditions where life or death might hang in the balance due to whether or not certain patient information was communicated to first responders or doctors. Some people use medic alert necklaces or bracelets, some rely on caregivers and family. But an increasing number of patients are using tattoos.
The first stories where tattoos seemed to come into play with medical conditions were heard around instances of DNR orders, the "do not resuscitate" orders that some elderly or terminally ill patients have put in place so that no extraordinary measure are taken to prolong their lives or revive them in case of medical collapse. Most often these are a piece of paper that's pinned up on a bedroom or hospital room door or wall. However, some people, concerned that their personal wishes would not be honored or communicated clearly, have chosen to have tattoos put on their chests to indicate there is a DNR order in effect.
In May of 2009, the American Association of Clinical Endocrinologists ,a href="http://sev.prnewswire.com/medical-pharmaceuticals/20090421/DC0193921042009-1.html" rel='nofollow'>will be discussing the matterat their annual convention in relation to patients with diabetes using tattoos to alert medical staff to their condition. At present, there is no design or placement that is standardized for such a practice and whatever patients are choosing to do is of their own design. Since diabetic issues can sometimes appear to be other medical conditions and leave patients unable to communicate what is happening, medic alerts are often the difference between life and death. Hypoglycemic coma can often be mistaken for inebriation and over the years, police procedures have been amended after numerous diabetics were left in "drunk tanks" to sober up, only to be found dead the next day.
For terminal patients, having "D.N.R." tattooed on their chest is very likely to work, as the initials are how the legal document is referred to by medical personnel and lawyers, and the chest is an area that paramedics or doctors will be accessing in relation to heart and lung function. But how would a diabetic indicate what their condition is, and where on their body would they put the mark? If a standard can be agreed upon by the medical community and and education program created to inform medical staff, diabetics and the general public, such a tattoo could be a useful medical alert mechanism.
Content copyright © 2013 by Rae Schwarz. All rights reserved.
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