Ethics Quiz: Let’s Play “Icky… or Unethical?” !

Hi everybody! It’s time to play everyone’s favorite play-at-home ethics quiz show, 

“Icky or Unethical?”

…where you, the audience, have to decide whether our guest’s conduct is truly unethical, or just so disgusting, strange or creepy that it just seems like it!

Ready to play? Great! Let’s all welcome our special guest, Dr. Michael Niccole, founder of the CosmetiCare Plastic Surgery Center in Newport Beach, California! Thanks for being here, doctor! Now let’s show our studio audience and those playing at home what you have done to bring you to the show! Here it comes:

“Dr. Niccole gave his daughter Brittani breast implants when she was just 18. He also gave her a nose job. Dr. Niccole performed surgery on his other daughter, Charm,* to turn her “outtie” belly button into an “innie ”when she was 10. Now that both daughters are 23, he regularly gives them Botox injections to prevent wrinkles as well as performing other cosmetic procedures on them!”

All right, there you have it!

Show that picture of Brittani, Don Pardo!

What a lovely young woman! You sure did right by her, Doc!  Hubba-hubba!  And now, it’s time to answer:

Is Dr. Niccole’s work on his daughters just icky, or is it unethical?

Give up?

It’s icky and unethical. The obsession with his daughters’ appearance is creepy, even for a plastic surgeon, and the fact that he set them both on the road to cosmetic surgery addiction at such early ages is irresponsible.  As for him doing the operations himself—OK, I find a father performing his daughter’s breast implants redolent of incest, but let’s assume I don’t understand, because I don’t.   If my mother had been a surgeon, I sure as hell wouldn’t have let her perform my circumcision….YUCK!! PTUI!!! ICKICKICK!!!

Doctor Niccole’s argument “Who would give them the time — that extra little look during surgery more than I would?” is disturbingly reminiscent of the lawyer who advocated having romantic relationships with clients, except with an extra bit of “EWWW!” added. Never mind, though, because the American Medical Association has ruled on this one. Is it ethical, except in emergencies, to operate on your own family members even if it isn’t icky? The AMA is clear: Absolutely not, according to AMA Opinion 8.19, “Self-Treatment or Treatment of Immediate Family Members”, which reads in part…

“Physicians generally should not treat themselves or members of their immediate families. Professional objectivity may be compromised when an immediate family member or the physician is the patient; the physician’s personal feelings may unduly influence his or her professional medical judgment, thereby interfering with the care being delivered. Physicians may fail to probe sensitive areas when taking the medical history or may fail to perform intimate parts of the physical examination. [ HA!!! No danger of that here, apparently!] Similarly, patients may feel uncomfortable disclosing sensitive information or undergoing an intimate examination when the physician is an immediate family member. This discomfort is particularly the case when the patient is a minor child, and sensitive or intimate care should especially be avoided for such patients. When treating themselves or immediate family members, physicians may be inclined to treat problems that are beyond their expertise or training. If tensions develop in a physician’s professional relationship with a family member, perhaps as a result of a negative medical outcome, such difficulties may be carried over into the family member’s personal relationship with the physician.

“Concerns regarding patient autonomy and informed consent are also relevant when physicians attempt to treat members of their immediate family. Family members may be reluctant to state their preference for another physician or decline a recommendation for fear of offending the physician. In particular, minor children will generally not feel free to refuse care from their parents. Likewise, physicians may feel obligated to provide care to immediate family members even if they feel uncomfortable providing care…

Thanks for playing, everyone!

Now I have to go take a shower.


* Yes, Charm.

7 thoughts on “Ethics Quiz: Let’s Play “Icky… or Unethical?” !

  1. His next move will be to pander his little creations into the entertainment field… where the BIG money is. This goes a step beyond the case where Dakota Fanning’s parents had all her baby teeth yanked out at once. Like Mel Brooks said, it’s all in the merchandising.

  2. Ew…..

    I had to laugh because as I read your question, and ‘Give up?’ I said ‘it’s both!’ and then read the next line of the article.

  3. Sounds like he’s using his daughters as practice dummies (for lack of a better phrase). Now he can market outie-to-innie surgery because he successfully performed it on his daughter.

    Major ick.

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