It seems recently there have been numerous news reports about people finding themselves lost due to amnesia. While these are rare and isolated cases, it has prompted an unusual precaution from the medical society; identity tattoos. While identity tattoos are not new, in the past doctors have reserved their suggestions as a permanent replacement for I.D. bracelets containing medical data. It should be stressed that this type of identification has been and can be a life saver since they are a permanent record that can not be lost in an emergency situation.

On a more somber note, tattoos have proven very useful in identifying murder victims whose identity would have proved difficult due to the loss of identifying features. I recall hearing about a woman’s dismembered torso found with nothing more than a tattoo on the thigh. A local tattoo artist identified the artist that originally did the tattoo by the style of the tattoo on the girl and that information allowed detectives to follow up on the lead and finally identify the victim through the original artist’s release form.

The reasons for getting an I.D. tattoo are varied and personal and should be weighed seriously. Consider the pros and cons of your decision and if you consider getting an I.D. tattoo ask yourself a few questions. Do I need to tattoo this information on me? What kind of information should I include? Where should I put this information? The answers will help guide you to your decision.

If you have pre-existing medical conditions that may be life threatening or critical to a medical response team, you should consider a permanent I.D. If you are prone to memory loss due to past severe head trauma, Alzheimer or dementia, a permanent I.D may be a good idea. If you have a health issue that could render you unresponsive to medical questions, a permanent I.D. might mean your life.

The amount and type of information given depends on your condition. It also depends on your comfort level of having that information visible. As to location, the most popular location for wearing medical identification is in a medical I.D. bracelet worn on the left wrist. Medical professionals always look there first for this bracelet. If you are considering a medical I.D. tattoo, then you need to have that information to be easily spotted by the first responders. Many people will have the tattoo placed in the same location as a medical I.D. bracelet with the information on the inside of the wrist and a little medical emergency cross on the outside of the wrist. This allows emergency personnel to quickly find the information.

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