White Coat Confusion Still on the Rise

“It’s really the Wild West, and there’s no sheriff in town.”  So says Dr. John Santa, the director of Consumer Report’s Health Rating Center, which helps people choose doctors and hospitals based on its rating system.

A recent New York Times article finally focused on the issue that I’ve been nagging all of you about for several years.  That is, doctors drifting outside their specialty to perform plastic surgery procedures such as liposuction, Botox and breast augmentation.

With insurance payments to doctors decreasing, white coat confusion is steadily increasing.  According to the New York Times, we increasingly find gynecologists performing breast augmentation, ophthalmologists doing liposuction and even family practice doctors injecting Botox.

Sure, these doctors are “board certified” – just not in plastic surgery.  The article points out that “only Texas, California, Louisiana and Florida mandate that doctors be specific in their advertising about which specialty board certifications they have. Elsewhere they may say just that they are “board-certified.”

Brazenly, lots of these self-titled “cosmetic surgeons” say that we plastic surgeons are just worried that they will encroach on our territory.  No, we’re worried that they’ll seriously disfigure someone.  Or worse.

When you are a board certified plastic surgeon, you have undergone 4-8 years of plastic-surgery-specific training AFTER medical school.  When you are a cosmetic surgeon, you went through training specific to your “real” specialty and then learned cosmetic surgery at a weekend course.  (Sometimes on a cruise ship, taught by other non plastic surgeons).

Okay, I’m getting all riled up again.  Let’s move on to something more fun.  Not that learning how to insert breast implants on a ship in the Carribean with pina colada in hand isn’t fun.  Just sayin.

Uhm.  This is Illegal.

Oops.  I spoke to soon.  This isn’t fun at all.  Right after I make the case for choosing a board certified plastic surgeon, this board certified plastic surgeon has to (allegedly)  go and do something like this?  Sheesh.

Heather Martin, a 20-year-old Las Vegas woman, says she received an anonymous letter informing her that one of the breast implants she received in early December was accidentally put into another patient who was undergoing breast surgery that same day.  When the doctor realized his mistake, he took it out of the other woman, sterilized it and put it into Martin.

Martin’s mother called to confront the doctor, and he admitted it saying “it was cost effective.”

It’s also cost effective to use industrial grade silicone for butt implants, but we don’t do it.  It’s cost effective for a surgeon to just administer anesthesia and operate at the same time without an anesthesiologist.  But we don’t do it.

Honestly, I’m shaking my head on this one.  I suddenly smell the unmistakable scent of a lawsuit or substantial cash settlement, don’t you?

Woman Jailed for Biting Midwife During Childbirth

A woman in the final stages of labor sunk her teeth into the arm of her midwife, and was promptly jailed for 20 weeks in England.  

Sure, it’s uncool to bite someone, but 20 weeks?  Really?  We’ve all seen women in the movies screaming, kicking, sweating and basically having what looks like an exorcism during childbirth.  Who’s to say she wasn’t momentarily “possessed” by pain?  Her husband is surely glad he wasn’t standing too near the delivery bed with any tender parts within reach.

Can’t get enough weird plastic surgery news?  Check out the archives.

Join me again next week as I continue to track the decline of civilized society as told through the strange and varied tales of plastic surgery.


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