I came across this article the other day, about a woman in Norfolk, England who had “Do Not Resuscitate” tattooed on her chest so that doctors would make no mistake about her intentions should she be found unconscious. And, just in case she is found face down, she tattooed “PTO” (please turn over) and an arrow on her back. She has said that, after her husband died, she became concerned that she might be left alive, on life support, and in pain, and wanted to ensure that this does not happen.
However, as the article notes, a tattoo is not enough to prove wishes to a doctor in case of an emergency. In Joy Tomkins’s case, she would need to either have a power of attorney in place, or have a DNR that is put in writing and properly witnessed. The rules are similar in Ontario. The best plan is to have a proper Power of Attorney for Personal Care in place to ensure that your wishes are spelled out, as well as being clear about the person you want making those wishes.