1. Gilbert, Julia RN, RM, BHs
  2. Boag, Jane RN


People have tattooed themselves for thousands of years, and it remains popular with various groups across mainstream society. Although many people choose tattoos that express their life philosophy, epic events in their life, or their personal mantra, the use of tattooing in medicine such as a "do not resuscitate" tattoo is increasingly becoming more common (Drew, 2017; Islam et al., 2016). As these tattoos do not meet the legal requirements for an advance health directive, they are at best a guide to the person's wishes and at worst a useless, painful exercise. New technology such as "talking tattoos" or implantable microchips could conceivably be used to record either an audible advance health directive or directions for emergency responders to access an individual's advance health directive. This article discusses the ethical and legal implications of nonstandard advance health directive tattoos in emergency treatment situations.