Should people with MS join the movement to alert first responders with medical tattoos? EMTs are skeptical.
There is a growing trend among people with allergies and other chronic conditions to forego traditional medical alert jewelry and opt instead for a strategically placed tattoo. Everything from type 1 diabetes to aspirin allergies is emblazoned on forearms to alert EMTs. But is it catching on among people with multiple sclerosis?
Since tattoo artists and government agencies don’t keep records of such things, it’s hard to just how many patients have chosen to get these designs. A study co-authored by Nicolas Kluger, a dermatologist from Helsinki, Finland, suggests that the craze is spreading.
"They’re convenient,” Kluger said in an interview with USA Today . “And their permanence can make people feel more comfortable.” Finding Vital Info Fast
Despite the comfort of toting a tattoo proclaiming your condition, the important question is how likely are first responders to look for such a sign?
“I think that tattoos around the wrist can be helpful if you have a condition that is important for an EMT to know,” Jill Lovette Bossert, an EMT from Wilmington, Delaware, told Healthline. But, she adds, “I personally have never seen one.” Jill Lovette Bossert shows her tattoo of an orange MS ribbon.
Even if prominently placed on the wrist (where EMTs are most likely to look), there is no standard design for a medical alert tattoo. Some look like alert bracelets, others consist of a red cross, and still others have words circling a medical symbol.
Tattoos can be conversation starters. If you don’t know what a person’s tattoo means, you might ask. But EMTs faced with unresponsive patients don’t have the luxury of learning the back story. Memorial, Inspirational, or Practical?
Tiffany Winter, former manager of Manhattan’s Black Ink Tattoo studio, featured on VH1’s show "Black Ink Crew," was diagnosed with MS in 2008. While she has seen many tattoos that are inspired by illness (and has a few of her […]