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American Medical Association Recommends Warning Tattoos for Children
August 24, 2031
CHICAGO--The most recent edition of the American Medical Association's Guide to Pediatric Health published Wednesday recommends that all children under the age of eight receive a series of reactive, low half-life tattoos containing essential preventative health information. "These guidelines aren't just about delivering vital health information," explains Dr. Raymond Tritness, co-author of the recommendation and Director of the Insurance Industry Association's medical malpractice working group. "They're about using information to intervene proactively at the moment a child might engage in risky or unhealthful behavior."
The recommended tattoos, including the admonition "Not to be Put in Eye" to be inscribed on the thumb and index finger of each hand, are based upon detailed actuarial analyses of the 1,200 most commonly reported childhood injuries and disorders. "We took great efforts to really boil down the set of warning messages related to injuries," notes Dr. Tritness. "A few key labels--such as 'To be Kept Inside the Vehicle at all Times' for the arms and legs--aim to prevent a whole host of common injuries."
The guidelines also call for the aggressive use of 'dermal informatics,' a set of newly developed techniques for creating programmable tattoos capable of responding to signals from the nervous and circulatory systems. Key recommendations include real-time pulse, blood sugar and body temperature tattoos. "We recommended that tattoos monitoring vital functions be located on the throat, back of the neck, or in some other location easily monitored by a parent," notes the Guide. "A caregiver's ready access to contemporaneous vital information significantly increases the likelihood of the early detection of illness, infection, and other disorders." The authors also recommend a number of other reactive tattoos, including a bacteria-sensitive 'Wash Me' for the back of each hand.
Finalized after a six-month period of public comment and review, the guidelines faced intense criticism from family and religious groups. "Frankly, we are concerned that [the committee] did not seriously consider the real concerns of the majority of parents," notes Imogene Duck, Health Director at Focus on the Family. "We presented a serious, practical case for a 'Not to be Touched Excessively' label for the genital area, but were rebuffed at every corner."
Medical and insurance industry watchdog groups have pointed to the guidelines as an attempt to decrease the liability of doctors and medical insurers. "We're on a real slippery slope," opines Joseph Fimlan, spokesman for Doctors Without Order. "Once these tattoos are widespread it'll only be a matter of months until we hear malpractice defense counsel arguing that their clients aren't responsible because the patients were put on notice by the warnings in these tattoos. It's ridiculous, but it's coming."
Responding to such criticism, Dr. Tritness emphasized the public nature of the guidelines development process and noted that the recommendations will continue to be scrutinized and revised in subsequent editions of the Guide.
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