Doctors Question The Validity Of A “Do Not Resuscitate” Order Via A Tattoo
Doctors in Florida faced a pretty serious dilemma when a 70-year-old patient was admitted to hospital with a “do not resuscitate” tattoo. The man was unconscious and has no identification, so no family or friends could be reached. This “do not resuscitate” tattoo could have been gotten when the patient was drunk, or maybe they got it 40 years ago and don’t feel the same now–either way, there’s a bunch of reasons as to why the doctors were reluctant to simply follow the supposed order.
One doctor who worked on the patient commented on how the staff ended up proceeding, saying, “We initially decided not to honor the tattoo, invoking the principle of not choosing an irreversible path when faced with uncertainty. This decision left us conflicted owing to the patient’s extraordinary effort to make his presumed advance directive known…After reviewing the patient’s case, the ethics consultants advised us to honor the patient’s do not resuscitate (DNR) tattoo. They suggested that it was most reasonable to infer that the tattoo expressed an authentic preference.”
So in the end, the doctors ended up honoring the tattoo and ultimately not resuscitating the 70-year-old. The patient did end up passing away.
Many people were baffled by the story and sent their input on whether or not doctors should honor the validity of a tattoo when it comes to life or death–the opinions are a mixed bag. Check out the responses to this confusing moral dilemma below.