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No, Leaving Your Mark on Women While They’re Unconscious Does Not Make Them Feel Better

July 23, 2008

Via Feministe, a surgeon is being sued because, during a procedure for a herniated disc, he allegedly placed a temporary rose tattoo on the patient.

“The patient discovered the tattoo below the panty line the next morning, when her husband was helping her get dressed to go home.”

Orthopedic surgeon Steven Kirshner’s lawyer says, “What’s offensive about this complaint is that it suggests something he did was intended to be prurient, and nothing could be further from the truth. It was intended just to make the patient feel better.”

Apparently he doesn’t even deny doing it, and “has left washable marks on patients before to improve their spirits.” Yeah, I always feel so awesome when I find out that people have been messing around below my panties or otherwise f’ing around with my body while I was unconscious. You want to make a patient feel better, give them a card, or balloons, or flowers, or a kind word. Or better pain drugs. You do not have permission to leave marks on them (however temporary) because you *think* that will cheer them up. Repeat after me: “If it’s not my body, I don’t get to decide what goes on it or how that person should feel about what goes on it.”

Vile.

5 Comments leave one →
  1. July 23, 2008 6:07 pm

    And to make it worse (if that were possible) the lawyer describes the complaint as offensive! What planet is this man from?

  2. MomTFH permalink
    July 23, 2008 8:01 pm

    I read about this today and was very troubled. What an unethical attitude towards a patient. And what really bothered me is how brazen the act was, and how unapologetic he is.

  3. July 23, 2008 10:24 pm

    I can’t help but think of the drawing a penis on the passed-out freshman’s forehead thing. The OR is not a frat party, dude.

  4. July 24, 2008 2:26 am

    Some of the comments on the original post Rachel linked to are frightening. They accuse this woman and her family of being on the greed patrol for suing.

    Blecchhh….I just tried to imagine myself in her position. I would be effin’ furious! I would feel totally freaked by someone messin’ around “down there” after my BACK surgery. And though the risk is low, some people do have reactions to those things. Was it some kind of STERILE temporary tattoo? (I’ve never heard of those) Wrong, wrong, wrong on so many counts.

    Thing is – I don’t think the appropriate thing is to sue. She’s upset, she deserves an apology – a big one – and maybe an ex gratia payment – not a big one. And for the surgeon to face an effective disciplinary procedure. But since the medical profession seems to refuse to actually deal with its own rogues, the only recourse is to sue.

    Good luck to her!

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