Patient had “Do Not Resuscitate” tattoo…so here’s what doctors did (wow)

It was a scenario that emergency room doctors at Jackson Memorial Hospital had discussed but never seen in person — an unconscious patient with a tattoo across his chest that read “Do Not Resuscitate.”

The 70-year-old man at the Miami hospital posed a vexing ethical dilemma and a decision needed to be made fast. His blood pressure was dropping and he wasn’t breathing well. He had a history of chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, diabetes and he had a high blood alcohol level.

“If we didn’t do something soon we were going to lose him,” said Dr. Gregory Holt, an assistant professor of medicine at the University of Miami who worked on the case this summer.

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In the end, the doctors followed the directions of the tattoo but not before some hand-wringing and a quick referral to the hospital’s ethics team.

Doctors immediately had

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