NPR

When A Tattoo Means Life Or Death. Literally

A gravely ill man arrives at the hospital, alone and unconscious, with a tattoo across his chest: "Do Not Resuscitate." It sparks deep conversation about end-of-life care in America.
Doctors in Miami found that a man's tattoo expressing his end-of-life wishes was more confusing than helpful. Source: Gregory Holt

The man was unconscious and alone when he arrived at University of Miami Hospital last summer. He was 70 years old and gravely ill.

"Originally, we were told he was intoxicated," remembers Dr. Gregory Holt, an emergency room doctor, "but he didn't wake up."

"He wasn't breathing well. He had COPD. These would all make us start to resuscitate someone," says Holt. "But the tattoo made it complicated."

The tattoo stretched across the man's chest. It

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