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Involuntary tattoo


Rabbi Baruch Finkelstein

29 Elul 5767
Rabbis: I was struck by an automobile while bicycling and landed face first on the asphalt road surface. (The bicycle helmet saved me from a certain concussion, and possible death, I was told.) From the impact some of the asphalt was lodged in my skin, and the emergency room did not scrub my face to get it out. It is now lodged under the level of the skin, and is clearly visible. It is what plastic surgeons call a "traumatic tattoo". It can be removed by plastic surgery, but the plastic surgeon said this is a difficult situation, and the scar from the removal may look worse than the asphalt inclusion itself. Am I permitted/required to have the plastic surgery to remove this involuntary tattoo? Thank you.
No. I don't think even a real tattoo needs to be removed once it was done. This is certainly not considered a tattoo from a halachic point of view even if the doctors call it a tattoo.
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