84 year-old Great-grandma tattoos "DO NOT RESUSCITATE" on her chest
According to the May 16th issue of The Des Moines (Iowa) Register, life in the great state of Iowa is no longer worth living, at least according to 84 year-old great granny, Mary Wohlford. You see, Granny Wohlford has had the words: "Do Not Recususcitate" tatooed on her chest. That's right. Tatooed. Permanently. With a needle. On her, *ahem,* "heaving" bosom.
Most women with tats, these days have dolphins, flowers, unicorns, or butterflies, bunnies, or, at worst, the ubiquitious "tramp stamp." But, "Do Not Recususcitate?" Wohlford is a retired nurse and, should she ever become incapacitated, she wants to be certain that everyone involved knows where she stands on the matters of her medical medical care. According to the Register:
She [Wohlford] said her decision to enter a Galena, Ill., tattoo parlor in February was the culmination of what she witnessed during her almost 30 years in nursing and during the Terri Schiavo controversy last year.1
The real question is, are the doctors going to pay attention to the tattoo? Actually the better question is, are the lawyers going to let tattoo artists start taking money out of their mouths? According to the Register:
Medical and legal experts expressed doubts that Wohlford's tattoo would prove binding, either in the emergency room or in the courts, but they give her credit for originality.
"I'll be darned," said Bob Cowie, a Decorah lawyer and chairman of the Iowa Bar Association's probate and trust law section. He added, "There are easier ways to do it than that," such as signing a living will or authorizing a medical power of attorney.1
Would the tattoo stop an emergency room doctor from firing up the paddles and bringing her back from across the veil?
"According to Iowa law, the answer is no," said Dr. Mark Purtle, who works in internal medicine at Iowa Methodist Medical Center.
He said Iowa law spells out when caregivers are permitted not to resuscitate a patient, and a tattoo wouldn't be good enough. He suggests a living will or an advanced directive, with a copy placed in the patient's medical chart, as well as discussing your wishes with trusted family members.
Lawyers agreed with Purtle.
"Just having that tattooed on your chest and doing nothing more, I'm not sure that's going to do you much good," said William Bump of Stuart, who has expertise in living wills and estate matters.
In addition to a living will, Cowie said, another approach is to authorize someone who can make decisions for you using what's called a medical power of attorney. If traveling, place a copy with your airplane tickets, he said.
Cowie said some clients have their living will or medical power of attorney form reduced in size and laminated, then carry it in a wallet.1
I always thought my grandmother would look cool with a tattoo. A winged and flaming cross would have been much more appropriate for her, though.