Pursuit of Bodily Perfection

How far would you go for the perfect body?

By Kevin RR Williams

HEALTH There's a hospital trauma department that staffs a team of plastic surgeons. Disfigured patients awaken in their recovery room more of a whole person after violent attacks or traumatic accident injuries. Sounds good so far? Surgeons also make aesthetic facial enhancements to less than attractive patients. Perhaps even more controversial is liposuction for the obese already anesthetied for other surgical procedures.

The surgeons remark, "Waking up to see that you have been cut open and stapled back together from navel to sternum is the second trauma for many emergency room patients. We believe that rather than feeling violated and disfigured, our patients begin emotional healing by focusing on their improved appearance after being discharged. Imagine leaving the hospital in better shape than you were prior to the trauma.”

Patients begin emotional healing by focusing on their improved appearance.

This raises a host of ethical questions: Do surgeons obtain concent from patients? Where does the liability rest if there are surgical complications? What if someone was previously satisfied with their facial appearance or plus-size? Who is ultimately responsible for determining the standard of beauty?

Wake Up To Reality

Fortunately this hospital of unauthorized plastic surgery is fictional. But sadly, there are people who give consent to unqualified surgeons in their search for beauty. Fabiola DePaula’s quest for beauty took this 24-year-old nanny to a condominium basement, where authorities say she paid an unlicensed doctor $3,300 for a nose job and liposuction leading to her death.

Patient Erika Hernandez flew to the Dominican Republic to save $9000 on a tummy tuck, liposuction, lipo sculpture and butt implant procedure. After 17 days of excruciating pain and high fevers, Hernandez died at another clinic in Santiago. Hector Cabral, accused of the unauthorized practice of medicine, could have been thrown behind bars for 20 years, but instead paid a fine and returned home to the Dominican Republic, where he continued to pursue his brand of plastic surgery.

Dr. James Brady and Dr. Jeffrey Yager diverted patients from the Columbia-Presbyterian plastic surgery clinic into a clandestine side practice using official-looking business cards with the hospital’s logo. The unauthorized practice lasted for nearly a year and appears to have begun soon after the two doctors became co-chief residents of the program. One week before Dr. Brady was to graduate, Columbia-Presbyterian fired him, claiming that he was a renegade resident who had performed an isolated procedure..

Regular exercise and nutritional meals are the basis for achieving the best you. While cosmetic surgery may be warranted in cases of accidental, violent or congenital disfigurement, patients should recognize that it carries the risk of any other surgical procedure. Complications can lead to death. Risks increase within dubious medical facilities

Tags: cosmetic surgery, doctors, ethics, physicians