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February 21, 2005

80-year-old doc gets DNR tattoo

This just in from my brother Loren:

Doctor's new tattoo: 'Do not resusitate' [news.com.Au]

AN emergency medicine specialist has given himself an 80th birthday present with a difference – he's had DO NOT RESUSCITATE tattooed across his chest.

Albert Cutter has performed enough resuscitations to know what his wishes would be if the tables were turned and he was the patient.

"I've done many, many resuscitations and the ones that survive that are OK without any problems are a very small percentage, probably not more than six per cent," he said.

"If I have a cardiac arrest, it's due to something being wrong. It's due to a disease or a disorder. Rarely is it accidental, except like in electric shock.

"Unless I was in an emergency room with a monitor and a defibrillator immediately available, the results would probably not be good."

Dr Cutter, who works as a GP locum in the Newcastle area, said although he wasn't usually an advocate of tattooing, he wanted to make his wishes about resuscitation clearly known.

"In most cases, when you have any cardiac or respiratory arrest, you're unconscious and so you can't convey your wishes to anyone," he said.

"Many people state it in their will or testament that they would not want to be resuscitated but in usual cases where it occurs, that information's not available."

Without a clear directive – such as his tattoo – Dr Cutter said he feared ending up paralysed and conscious, but unable to express his desires about resuscitation.

"The other thing is if I was brain dead ... I wouldn't want to be a drag on society," Dr Cutter said.

"In other words, in keeping a body alive, I think it's a waste of time and money."

Dr Cutter has lived in Australia since 1981 after working as an emergency medicine specialist in Los Angeles, Las Vegas and Reno.

He came to Australia after suffering burn out following a decade working in LA.

"After 10 years ... I got tired of packing a .38 in my shoulder holster and came over here where I don't have to," he said.

Despite the gravity of his tattoo message, the octogenarian hasn't lost his sense of humour.

"It'd be my luck that they wouldn't open my shirt ... before commencing CPR," he quipped.

Smart man, that Dr Cutter. In the meantime, I hope he shaves his chest and shows off his badass ink at the beach. He'll shame young punks like this:

Dreamer

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» DNR from Begging To Differ
Let this serve as a reminder to have your DNR orders (or DR orders, if such exist) drawn now, lest you ever suffer an early heart attack: Republican leaders in Congress moved today to prevent the removal of a feeding... [Read More]

» DNR, THANKS from Begging To Differ
Let this serve as a reminder to have your DNR orders (or DR orders, if such exist) drawn now, lest you ever suffer an early heart attack: Republican leaders in Congress moved today to prevent the removal of a feeding... [Read More]

Comments

Nice post; I should visit a tattooist and do the same!

DNR would also be a pretty good name for a band - if it doesn't already exist.

Interesting, but likely irrelevant. Should he actually be a candidate for resuscitation, a tattoo would present no obstacle to the legal duty of a physician or EMT. Perhaps if he added more to the tattoo (his signature, the signature & seal of a notary public, etc.), it would pass muster. Otherwise, he's got nothing more than a loud statement...like any other dude sportin' ink.

If you ever need a leg amputated, it's important to get a felt pen and write on your good leg, in big letters, "Not This Leg!". Under anesthesia you won't be able to say anything.

The guy who told me that was a pathology tech, and while he knew it sounded funny, he was 100% serious.

It's even more important with kidneys. Removing the wrong kidney will almost always shorten your life by a decade or more.

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