A ‘Right to Die’ grandmother who does not want doctors to save her life if she falls ill has had ”Do Not Resuscitate” tattooed across her chest – and ”PTO” on her back.
Joy Tomkins, 81, decided she did not want to be brought back to life in a medical emergency following the slow death of her husband Malcolm.
The mum-of-two, who is not terminally ill, has now had ”Do Not Resuscitate” tattooed across her chest to ensure that doctors respect her right to die.
Joy has also had ”PTO” and an arrow inked onto her back – so that paramedics will read the words on her chest if she collapses face first.
Grandmother-of-six Joy, who suffers from arthritis, Reynard’s disease and diabetes, yesterday revealed she does not want to endure a slow, lingering death.
She said: ”I do not want to be half dead, I want to be fully dead. It might have been different when I was 51 but I am 81 now.
”Everybody has to die sometime but I do not want to end up as a vegetable. I hoped I would get away at 70 but I’m still happy to be alive now.
”I am afraid that the medical profession will, with the best of medical intentions I hope, keep me alive when I don’t want to be alive.
”I dont want to lie for hours, months or even years before dying. I don’t want my family to remember me as a lump.
”My mother-in-law lived to be 106 and in the last six years of her life she’d have been much better dead. She was miserable.
”I don’t want to upset anyone but this is something I feel strongly about. I won’t change my mind I never do and my children support me in this.
”That is why I got the tattoo. I have all sorts of things wrong with me but my head is fine. I don’t have a death wish I just don’t want to be kept alive in pain.”
Joy, who lives in Downham Market, Norfolk, worked as an editorial secretary at Punch magazine in Fleet Street, London, until she became a full-time mum at 27.
Her husband Malcolm, 51, a civil servant, died in 1981 after a gruelling seven year battle against Conn’s syndrome – where sufferers have an over active adrenal gland.
Joy claims that bungling doctors initially diagnosed her husband with the wrong disease meaning all treatment failed and he endured a slow and painful death.
That same year Joy made a living will stating that she did not want medics to resuscitate her in the event of a medical emergency.
Joy decided to have tattoos confirming her wishes after she watched her mother and father and mother-in-law suffer lingering deaths.
Her children Thomas, 52, and Mary, 50, are aware of her wishes and support her right to die.
Joy revealed that the inspiration for her ”Do Not Resuscitate” tattoos came from a retired nurse who did the same thing in 2003.
She added: ”It is not because my are children are not fond of me that they would allow me not to be resuscitated – it is because they know and accept my wishes.
”The medical profession are very proud of themselves and they don’t like what I am saying.
”But they treated my husband for the wrong thing and he and I went through seven years of medical treatment.
”If they had got it right he might still be alive.”