The Uncertainty of DNR Tattoos

After reading Dana’s post, I became much more interested in reading the article about DNR tattoos and how it raises concern and uncertainty in terms of consent. The line from Dana’s post that read “…this could potentially lead to a new definition of consent that goes beyond legal written documentation.  The consent that would be associated with tattoos on the body might be difficult to clearly define” really sparked my attention, because this is very true. How do you interpret something like this, that really isn’t a popular or understood concept.

Tattoos are permanent markings on the body, whether you want them there or not. The article clearly stated how decisions to do something like this aren’t always made while the patient is in the best state of mind, especially since a tattoo of something of this level of importance seems almost crazy. Do you trust a tattoo over a legal document? This lead me to think about this situation in a very extreme way: What if a DNR tattoo like this was put on someone completely against their will, by maybe their over-controlling parents, abuser, cult, or anything of that nature? Is it safe to say that a tattoo on one’s body is a sure sign of what the person actually believes in and wants for themselves? Another thing that I thought about was that what if someone had this tattoo, but also had dozens of other tattoos that completely covered the body and said and portrayed many other things? Is every doctor supposed to then read through all of the tattoos on a person’s body to check for a DNR tattoo? There must be a more efficient way to portray ones wishes in terms of things like this, considering how important consent is in the medical world. Maybe having a card in your wallet at all times that stated this information, just like an organ donor card, would be more effective and clear when it came down to a life or death situation.

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