Living Will vs. Tattoo

11/25/2011

The law of most states (including Missouri) is pretty clear that a written living will is the best way to express your intent whether or not you want to be kept alive by extraordinary means if you are in a presistent vegitative state or death is otherwise eminent.  

It always baffels me how people just want to do things their way.  Eighty-one year old Joy Tomkins tattooed the words “Do Not Resuscitate” on her chest to inform doctors of her wish that she not be resuscitated. She additionally tattooed “P.T.O” (Please Turn Over) and an arrow on her back in case paramedics find her face down.

It is my belief that most doctors would not pay attention to Tomkins’ “Do Not Resuscitate” tattoo, and, in fact, they legally are within their right to ignore it.  To be effective, individuals need to put their medical wishes in writing and on paper (and have it witnessed) and not have it tattooed on their body.