Death is a touchy subject.  It seems there’s always a debate going
on somewhere involving death, whether it be euthenasia, abortion,
homicide, genocide, suicide, (even spermicide among the
ultra-conservative), or brain-death.  It happens every day,
millions of times a day, and is an inevitable and inescapable part of
life, and also the most frightening for most people (inevitibility,
finality, and unpredictability are scary things). 

One of the most interesting debates I hear these days is the debate as
to whether or not a person is actually dead — what defines
death?  In ages past, lacking the modern miracles of technology,
this was not such a hot topic; but it seems a question that confronts
me more and more often these days.  The fuel for this blog entry’s
train of thought appeared in an article about an octagenarian who
recently had the words “DO NOT RESUSCITATE” tattooed on her chest.
(article here:
The doctors consulted for the article said that this would not be
sufficient, and that the woman’s next-of-kin or living will would need
to be consulted in the event that the woman were a candidate for
resuscitation.  Personally, I’m a bit confused as to why —
wouldn’t a tattoo be plain, unmistakeable evidence of the patient’s wishes?