Surgeon sued for giving anesthetized patient temporary tattoo

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Maysie Maysie's picture
Surgeon sued for giving anesthetized patient temporary tattoo


Maysie Maysie's picture

A female patient, in surgery for a herniated disc, found a temporary tattoo on her lower abdomen the next morning after surgery.



An opinion piece from The Angry Black Woman's blog:


The tattoo was not at all medical in nature. She had surgery for a herniated disc and the next morning discovered a rose tattoo had been placed on her abdomen below her panty line. The doctor doesn’t deny doing it. In fact he claims he does this with all his patients to lift their spirits after surgery. Now, the really interesting (and disturbing) thing about this situation is how people have reacted to this woman’s decision to sue. The comments on this article are just the tip of the iceberg. Many people seem to be outraged by this woman being willing to sue this doctor for marking her (however temporarily) in her pelvic area without her permission.

We’ve all gone the rounds about the politics of choice as it applies to reproduction. But the idea that women’s bodies are public property doesn’t stop there. Catcalling, comments on weight, comments on hair or makeup from strangers are all just symptoms of a larger societal delusion that women’s bodies are a commodity first. Somehow we’ve gotten stuck in this idea that a woman’s valuing of her body as a part of her self comes second because her first role is to belong to the world at large. Women who refuse to accept that paradigm and insist on being recognized as people first whether it be by yelling back at catcallers, refusing to let strangers touch them, or filing suit when they feel they’ve been violated are then castigated for having the temerity to think that they can dictate what happens to their bodies. Apparently we’re just supposed accept these “lesser” intrusions and not take steps to reclaim that sense of safety because nice girls know their place and don’t delude themselves that they have a right to feel safe and comfortable.

[url= Angry Black Woman: The Audacity of Bodily Autonomy[/url]

Timebandit Timebandit's picture

I'd feel completely violated. Good on the patient for suing the arrogant SOB.

That's one of the reasons I am terrified of ever having surgery -- you don't know what they're doing when you're out, you can't defend yourself.



Its the principle, not the particular. In other words a rose may be in offensive, even desired by all. But its the unasked for violation of the body thats the principle. It could easily have been something totally offensive, offensive only to some, not offensive to most or whatever.

You cannot say its not a violation if its something you like and is when its something you don't.


The subject/content of the tattoo is a non-issue. Patronizing, misogynist bastard needs to keep his surgical fingers where they belong!

Pride for Red D...

That's disgusting ! Where does he get off putting a temporary tatto right below her navel, whithout her permissuion ?!

Pride for Red D...

With regards to the excerpt from "Angry", this sort of makes think of the connection to abortion in the sense of a women's right to control over her own body, the state not being involved because it is a private space.

Edited to add : Didn;t realise she had already mentioned it.

[ 25 July 2008: Message edited by: Pride for Red Dolores ]


I can't imagine why anyone would make excuses for this (not here, but it's mentioned in the article BCG posted). That is such a violation, and no matter what his motives are.

Even if, on the off chance, he really just is completely and totally socially clueless and wasn't even thinking of it in terms of being patronizing or pulling a power trip - even if he thought it was just a really nice thing to do, a nice little touch to cheer someone up - he needs to learn, in a way he won't forget, that this is a total violation.


If it happened in Canada, taxpayers would end up footing all the bills for the sue job, and the whole thing would be smoothed over by a provincial medical association. Besides, we have a shortage of them across the country. Blame the ONDP and Bob Rae!!!

Maysie Maysie's picture

But it didn't happen in Canada. Can you please not derail this thread Fidel?

Maysie Maysie's picture

I recommend that people read the comments on the two news sites, of which I could only get through about a dozen or so. They tell us a number of things, including how male the internet is, but also the level that the commentators understand that women's autonomy over our own bodies is insignificant and how dare we stand up for ourselves, in this particular case, and ever. The fact that all this is so completely normalized is the issue that needs challenging, is what I'm thinking.


I remember reading once about a guy who woke from his hernia operation to find that the surgical team had used iodine to paint his unit like a barber pole.

My guess is that if most men heard that story, magically, suddenly, they might get why crap like this isn't OK.

If a surgeon wants to brighten a patient's day, they should pop by for a visit and say "it all went well and you're going to be fine". I would think most patients would prefer that to being graffitied.



Originally posted by bigcitygal:
[b]But it didn't happen in Canada. Can you please not derail this thread Fidel?[/b]

Sorry, I was trying to relate to it from a Canadian point of view. Scuse

remind remind's picture


Originally posted by bigcitygal:
[b]The fact that all this is so completely normalized is the issue that needs challenging, is what I'm thinking.[/b]

Exactly correct, IMV.