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A Tattoo Could Save Your Life

Posted on July 07 2012

Medical Tattoos


People get tattoos for any number of reasons: as a fashion statement, to commemorate an important event or person, as personal art or just for the hell of it. Many people are starting to get tattoos to communicate lifesaving information.

Medical tattoos are becoming more and more popular with people who have severe food or medication allergies or conditions like diabetes, heart disease, or epilepsy. Used to alert medical professionals of these conditions in the event of an emergency, medical tattoos can say anything from “Do Not Resuscitate” to the medical symbol and their condition. Rather than dealing with medical ID bracelets or other jewelry that can break or get lost, people are deciding to wear that information right on (or under) their sleeve. This is another development, like the philips m5066a defibrillator which is a new portable life-saving device, that is allowing emergency treatment to become more and more efficient. Hopefully this will lead to a decrease in fatalities.

Paramedics and other first responders are trained to check the wrists and front of the neck for medical alert jewelry, so if you are planning to get a medical tattoo, it should be in one of those areas. That way if you ever need first aid the responder will be able to assist you better if they know of any medical conditions. This type of thing gets taught on first aid courses like Coast2Coast Toronto along with how to perform CPR and use a defibrillator if required. It’s not just tattoos or even jewelery that are being used to help tell people when there is a medical issue. A lot of people (particular seniors or people with other health issues) are making the most of an alert system to help them and they can also help improve the quality of some people’s lives. It’s up to you though for what you get, if you decide that a tattoo is more your sort of thing, then you should just get what you want. If you are getting a tattoo though, then you need to make sure that you get it in a place that is easily visible.

Of course, many people hesitate to get tattoos of any kind, either due to preconceived notions about tattoos or unwillingness to permanently add that info to their bodies. Though she doesn’t think that medical tattoos will replace medical ID jewelry Shelly Fisher, president and CEO of Hope Paige, a medical ID bracelet company, says that tattoos that help keep people safe can be the right choice.

“Many people don’t want to wear IDs because those make them feel branded,” she said in a recent press release. “Tattoos let them present that information in a way they choose.”

The company is also giving away temporary “In Case of Emergency” medical tattoos with any order to let people get used to the sight of a tattoo before permanently inking it. Temporary tattoos can be a good alternative during sports or other activities likely to break jewelry.

Medical tattoos do have some drawbacks, such as not being able to easily update contact information or paramedics not knowing to look for them. But for patients looking to state important basic medical information like a peanut allergy, or that they are a Type 1 diabetic, a tattoo can be an easy way to alert first responders to health issues.

Even then, there’s still a lot of debate surrounding if medical tattoos will carry any legal weight because the American Medical Association hasn’t officially included them in their guidelines.

About the Author of “A Tattoo Could Save Your Life”:
Erin Leigh is a freelance writer for Dr. Sina Kasraeian, an orthopedic surgeon in Jacksonville and St. Augustine, Florida.