Pensioner’s ‘Do Not Resuscitate’ tattoo validity questioned
Summary of story from BBC News, September 6, 2011
An 81-year-old woman from Norfolk, England, has had “Do Not Resuscitate” tattooed across her chest in case she falls ill and attempts are made to revive her.
Joy Tomkins had the message tattooed, along with ‘P.T.O.’ (‘please turn over’) and an arrow on her back, earlier this year.
She has had a having a living will for about 30 years, but said the tattoo meant there was “no excuse” for error.
“If I’m found lying about and can’t say something, I want medics to accept that,” she said. “I’m 81 and don’t need any more use.”
“What do you think I’m going to do with the frightful thought of getting to 100? I hate it. My mother-in-law lived to be 106 and in the last six years of her life she’d have been much better dead. She was miserable.”
Dr Anna Smajdor, a lecturer in medical ethics at the University of East Anglia’s Medical School, said she could see that Mrs Tomkins wanted to send a “very clear message” and “cover all bases” with her tattoo.
However, Dr Smajdor said tattoos were not effective “as a sole way of ensuring wishes are fulfilled” as they would “not be legally binding”.