'Do Not Resuscitate' tattoo causes ER ethical dilemma

Emergency room doctors at a University of Miami hospital faced a vexing ethical dilemma when paramedics wheeled in an unconscious man with a "Do Not Resuscitate" chest tattoo.

The case is described in a case study published Thursday in the New England Journal of Medicine.

Doctors treating the 70-year-old diabetic patient at first began lifesaving efforts. The patient had an elevated blood alcohol level and a history of pulmonary disease.

But tattooed "do not resuscitate" requests are not considered valid by the Florida Department of Health and the doctors were unable to immediately locate the man's family members or even identify him.

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