Diabetes Tattoos Replacing Non-Permanent Types of Medical Identification

Armen Hareyan's picture

Removable medical identification jewelry is being voluntarily replaced with tattoos. Medical identification is important for patients in case of emergencies such as car accidents or collapsing in public, but some patients aren't privy to wearing jewelry or watches that might have their medical info inscribed on the inside because it's irritating. The caduceus symbol and a "T1" or "T2" specification is now permanently gracing the wrists and ankles of diabetics around the world.

The familiar caduceus is generally depicted as two serpents twisting around a herald's staff with wings outstretched at the top. Many ID bracelets or necklaces will have this symbol with the medical condition transcribed on the back. A necklace or bracelet isn't permanent however and some people can't stand wearing jewelry. This growing phenomenon is now testing the waters of whther tattoos are as taboo as some people might think.


EMT's are trained to find these types of symbols or notifications on arms, necks and legs so these tattoos must be in visible places, which bothers some people. According to the Glaswegian, a Scot named Colin Sutherland is making headlines for his recent participation in the tattoo identification trend. An inch and a half caduceus symbol is tattooed on the inside of his right forearm with script above and below it specifying his condition as Type 1 diabetes or insulin dependent diabetes.

Sutherland stated: “I had medical bracelets before and one got stolen and I thought, 'Well I'll always be diabetic.' I'm a big fan of things that are unique and have other tattoos.[...] It's a back-up if something happens to me, if you check my pulse, you will see it. Someone can steal a bracelet but nobody is going to cut your arm off.”

Critics and parents alike are concerned the growing trend is just another excuse for young people to get tattooed, but considering it can save a life, the conspiracy joke is on them. Dlife also published an article by Travis Grubbs who jokes about getting his “T2 Diabetes” tattoo on his left forearm because the tattoo shop had an 18 and over sign on the door. He's obviously much past 18 then questioned whether his tattooer was even 18 yet.

Grubbs is now extremely satisfied with his decision and says the tattoo is a great conversation starter. Jewelry has always bothered him, so he's a perfect candidate for this permanent identification trend. The trend stretches past diabetes of course, patients with allergies or physical conditions are getting them too, along with people who are just qualified to handle medical emergencies. Time for the taboo to stop and the saving begin.