A man’s ‘do not resuscitate’ tattoo forced Miami emergency doctors to confront the ethical conflict between a patient’s wishes and a doctor’s duty.
The 70-year-old man was unconscious and presumably drunk, given his elevated blood-alcohol level, when paramedics brought him to the emergency room.
His pulse slowed to a worrying rate, and the doctors decided to try to save him any way, but were getting no responses, according to a case study published in the New England Journal of Medicine.
After consulting with ethicists, the doctors decided to respect the man’s tattoo, but the quandary made them aware of the need for an updated system of tracking patients’ end of life wishes.
Paramedics brought the senior to the University of Miami hospital emergency room after finding him on the street.