Make this page my home page
  1. Drag the home icon in this panel and drop it onto the "house icon" in the tool bar for the browser

  2. Select "Yes" from the popup window and you're done!

Home > Topics > Health and Wellness

Should medical alert tattoos be regulated?

Some experts say organizations like the American Diabetes Association should produce guidelines on the optimal placement and general shape for tattoos so EMS knows where to look

USA Today

FOWLERVILLE, Mich. — Ben Roberts, a 33-year-old from Fowlerville, Mich., estimates that medical bracelets and necklaces have cost him more than $1,000 since he was diagnosed with type 1 diabetes at age 6.

Frustrated, he headed to a local tattoo parlor four years ago. "It's a negative thing to say, but diabetes isn't going away any time soon," he said. "You might as well get a tattoo."

Today, "Diabetic, Type 1" is tattooed underneath the six-pointed "Star of Life" with a snake running through it, the traditional symbol for emergency medical services.

Read full storyUnregulated rise of medical alert tattoos stirs debate

The comments below are member-generated and do not necessarily reflect the opinions of or its staff. If you cannot see comments, try disabling privacy and ad blocking plugins in your browser. All comments must comply with our Member Commenting Policy.
Kent Askildsen Haglund Kent Askildsen Haglund Wednesday, July 30, 2014 9:22:50 AM Just wrong, if you work in the service it is ok.
Ryann Castro Ryann Castro Wednesday, July 30, 2014 10:07:26 AM Intention was right, the design was about in the forehead huh?
Renae Justice Renae Justice Wednesday, July 30, 2014 11:12:47 AM I think this makes sense. It would make it easier for responders to know where to look and save people a lot of money. While you can't force people to put a tattoo in a certain place, you can regulate one that responders would be responsible to look for - if there's not one in that location, the responder is not responsible for not seeing it.
Kassie Oliver Kassie Oliver Wednesday, July 30, 2014 12:11:12 PM How about on the inside of the wrist they can make the tattoo look like a medical alert bracelet so it's not confusing but it's permanent.
Linda McGivern Linda McGivern Wednesday, July 30, 2014 12:39:09 PM Tattoos should be regulated just as tightly as the jewelry:
Benjamin Johnson Benjamin Johnson Wednesday, July 30, 2014 12:41:18 PM One day it will probably save his life so who the hell cares.
Taylor Craig Taylor Craig Wednesday, July 30, 2014 10:02:39 PM Personally in an emergency situations tattoos are the last thing i look at and until i read this i had absolutely no idea people are doing this. So if one of pts have had these tattoos i havent noticed. Now bracelets and necklaces are easy to spot you know what they look like and where they are.
Shan Gondal Shan Gondal Thursday, July 31, 2014 5:58:21 AM It is bad to create tatto any part of body
Place OfMiracles Place OfMiracles Thursday, July 31, 2014 10:36:23 AM Children of Fire provides medical tattoos for black kids burned pink, to make their skin colour what it would have been
Dawn Poetter Dawn Poetter Thursday, July 31, 2014 1:03:25 PM Regulate something going on my body? I think not.....this whole story is silly...I have an Italian charm bracelet that say's diabetic on it. I'm not wearing some ugly necklace or bracelet and if I choose a tattoo it will go where I choose ;-)
Skip Kirkwood Skip Kirkwood Thursday, July 31, 2014 3:39:46 PM Why bother? No smart medic will pay attention to it anyway!

EMS1 Offers

We Recommend...

Connect with EMS1

Mobile Apps Facebook Twitter Google+

Get the #1 EMS eNewsletter

Fire Newsletter Sign up for our FREE email roundup of the top news, tips, columns, videos and more, sent 3 times weekly
Enter Email
See Sample

Online Campus Both

Health and Wellness Videos