New Tattoo Trend Could Threaten Your Life

by A-Badgero

As yet, there are no standards for medical tattoos and what happens if you over come your insulin dependency? Your tattoo could provide the wrong information to medical staff and could be dangerous.

MedicAlert jewellery is meant to display your personalized medical conditions so that in a situation where you may be unconscious and unable to speak for yourself medical staff will be aware of any allergies or conditions you may have. The jewellery also has a number for the MedicAlert 24 hour hotline. When the number is called a medically trained specialist answers promptly (within 5 seconds) and provides your full medical record. The specialists will then contact your family to let them know where you are and that you are being cared for.

Usually used in western culture as a form of self expression tattoos have been around for centuries however, in recent decades they seem to have grown even more in popularity and social acceptance then ever before. With this new growth in popularity comes some new creative usages for permanent ink. Probably the most useful of these new practical use tattoos would be the medical alert tattoo, although the arm’s length measuring tape tattoo is a close second.

This has been a new trend growing rapidly all over the U.S., Canada and across Europe. This trend makes sense to so many because it seems to be such a smart alternative to a piece of jewellery thats effectiveness is subject to you wearing it regularly or that can be removed or lost. This new solution however, does not come without its own problems and concerns.

A permanent marking stating your medical information or your wishes such as Do Not Resuscitate (D.N.R.) has many medical professionals concerned. Emergency responders are trained to look for MedicAlert ID which is either worn as a bracelet, necklace or watch. Paramedics will look in those locations for information, they are not trained to look for tattoos especially if they are not located on the areas stated above.

One of the benefits of the MedicAlert jewellery is that it can be updated at any time as your condition changes. For example it is possible for a person diagnosed with type 2 diabetes to properly manage their condition to the point of no longer needing medication for the condition. The permanency of the ink means that unless you alter your tattoo to show your new medical status, the existing tattoo could actually create more risk instead of saving a life. Also as we age, the odds of contracting more medical conditions are very likely and new conditions can easily be added to the bracelet while you may not want an entire area on your body dedicated to a list of medical conditions.

Another issue with the medical alert tattoo is that there is currently no standard in place for tattoo placement, size or appearance so some may have elaborate designs that include embellishments such as flowers, butterflies, skulls or fancy fonts. The problem with these embellishments is that, chances are, it will not be recognized as a medical tattoo. It could prove extremely difficult to spot a medical tat on a heavily tattooed individual as it may not really stand out especially if it is not in a location that is typical of a MedicAlert bracelet or necklace. Emergency personnel are in no way obliged to follow tattooed instructions and in an emergency situation they will not have time to search you just in case you have medical instructions in ink.

Because tattoos are so personal and can have many meanings depending on your character, medical staff can get confused as to the actual significance of the tattoo. You may think having D.N.R. on your chest is a clear message but how can medical staff be sure they are not someone’s initials?

Ms. Myles, an established tattoo artist and owner of Inksmith Tattoos in Geulph, Ontario, has done a handful of medical tats and has come up with some suggestions to ensure medic alert tattoos serve their purpose. First of all she strongly suggests getting the tattoo in the same area that the bracelet or necklace would be so that it can be located easily. She also warns customers against over-embellishment of the tattoo and strongly suggests sticking to plain black to guarantee it will be recognized as a serious medical tattoo.

Vancouver tattoo artist Andrew Warren said, surprisingly enough, most of the medical tattoos he has done have been on paramedics. “That’s the weird thing, because they know it can’t be taken at face value,” said Andrew, “Most of them appeared to be for aesthetic reasons however, those who do a lot of travelling and backpacking get it because in other countries they will take it at face value.”

Perhaps in the future there will be a standardized medical tattoo that is widely recognized by emergency personnel who will be trained to look for such a marking. However, until that day comes it is safe to say that the medical alert tattoo is not a complete replacement for the MedicAlert jewellery. However that does not mean it does not serve a purpose. Having a medical tattoo is not legally binding though, if you have “No CPR” tattooed across your chest it may remind medical staff to check your chart carefully.

Read more:

Instead of a bracelet, tattoos flag medical conditions | CTVNews


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