Widow's tattoo states dying wish - page 2

LONDON, England (Reuters) -- An 85 year-old widow is so determined not to be resuscitated against her will by doctors that she has tattooed the words "Do Not Resuscitate" across her chest. ... Read More

  1. by   -jt
  2. by   agnewRN
    I also cared for a middle age gentleman with terminal cancer that had a tattoo on his chest DNR. I didn't believe it at first when I read the admit assessment but he gladly showed it and had all his "legal documents " in place to support it. He said he didn't want to take any chances. My only comment to him was hope he doesn't change his mind. He reassured me he wouldn't.
  3. by   Allison S.
    Tangentially, I went to school with a guy who had a "biohazard" tattoo. I tried to explain to him that this goes without saying.
  4. by   LasVegasRN
    Originally posted by -jt
    Well, it can be humorous to hear these stories but I think its so ridiculous that the public actually thinks a tatoo is a valid DNR consent. A DNR tatoo will not prevent her from being resuscitated. An RN in my community had DNR tatooed across his chest for many years. When he was a victim in car accident a few years ago, even though the tatoo was clear, he was still resuscitated. A DNR tatoo cant be considered an advance directive. Its just another tatoo. The healthcare professionals couldnt just say oh look at his tatoo - hes a DNR, and then stand back & do nothing. They would have been legally liable for neglience if they had with-held CPR just because of some initials on his skin. So, legally, they had to resuscitate him everytime he coded - until the family made the decision in writing (on a paper consent form). And the whole story was in our local newspaper for days. If these people feel so strongly about not being resuscitated that they took the time, expense, and pain of getting a tatoo, they should also take the time to discuss their wishes with their families and MDs, and put it all in writing in a legally binding paper document, so it can be upheld without question. Besides, the paper advance directives forms are free and they dont hurt. All this RN had was his tatoo and that didnt count, so his wishes could not be carried out until his family finally gave written permission. So sad.
    Well stated. Should also discuss organ donation.
  5. by   wv_nurse 2003
    Actually I think this 85 year old woman is trying to make a statement--how many times have you seen elderly people even with the proper legal documents--be resuscitated because family members (alive and well) insisted health care providers do "everything possible." Its sad, and we can say how wrong it is ethically--but it happens.
    I think if an 85 year old mother/grandmother/aunt took such a drastic step--it would certainly make the message loud and clear.
  6. by   kids
    Has anyone considered that having all of the signed documents in the world saying you are a DNR will not do you ONE bit of good if you are in an accident or keel over on the street? EMS or ER staff are not going to figure out who you are and call your family to ask if you have advanced directives before starting CPR if you code.
  7. by   shoelace
    Of course it isn't a *legal* document, but you'd think we'd give even MORE credence to a freaking tattoo. Anyone have one? They HURT! Anyone willing to go through that pain should have their inked wishes honored, legal document or not!
  8. by   coowip
  9. by   HoustonRN
    I think if they had DNR tattoo'd on their CHEST, that they knew exactly what they were asking for and would respect their wishes.
  10. by   gwenith
    In the early days of resuscitation the definition of a cardiac arrest was a "Sudden and unexpected cessation of cardiac output". This allowed us to differentiate between an expected death and a cardiac arrest. Over the years the opposite has become accepted where now all are resuscitated unless the person has laid in place a quite complex legal wish for the opposite.

    What bugs me is cases where the possibility has never been discussed with the family. Had one in ICU the other week cerebral palsy - very limited ability 24 hour care unknown mental capacity severely distorted body. Resused in ED with ETT down - then of course must ventilate. His chest was abnormal in shape, he was on hiw umpteenth aspiration pneumonia despite feeding via a PEG.

    Relatives though were shocked and had never considered that he might coem to the point of requiring resuscitation. No-one had ever discussed what we should do in event of deterioration. Shouldn't the doctors who normally see this kid have discussed resuscitation at some time?
  11. by   Hellllllo Nurse
    How about having the pt's doc and two lawyers sign/tattoo their signatures under the DNR tattoo, AND having DNR/advanced directives on file at an attourney's office?

    Would that make the tattoo legally binding?

    Any LNCs care to comment?
  12. by   nowplayingEDRN
    It is funny that years and years ago, we all joked on night shift about getting DNR tattooed on our bods somewhere and some 85 yr old Granny had the guts to actually do it!

    And it is not just the well meaning family that foul up the advanced directive papers...sometimes it is not clearly documented on a chart. I was involved with that once...fortunate for me the patient was greatful that my CNA cam and told me that she was extremely bradicardic and that I administered atropine to brought her back. Her cardiologist was not so understanding and read me the riot act for giving the atropine. When we explained why the advanced directive was not honoured he then went after the ward clerk....however the woman went on to change her stance on her advanced directive and recinded it, which made the cardiologist mad....makes me wonder if she was pressured into signing a DNR that she did not want.

  13. by   Teshiee
    I guess wearing a DNR bracelet wouldn't make a difference? If it was only issued to those who have written documentation? Just a thought since I feel you have a right to choose your outcome.