First Do No Harm? Ethics Observations On “Dragon Lady”

Richard Hernandez, who now goes by Tiamat Legion Medusa, or just “Dragon Lady,” has spent more than $70,000 on a series of plastic surgeries and body modifications, a process triggered when the former bank vice-president was diagnosed with AIDS.

He/She/It/Them (He prefers it, and I won’t use “them”,) has had 18 horn implants, both ears removed, a partial nose removal (so he would look like Voldemort in the “Harry Potter” movies—COOL!), 32 teeth pulled and six of his remaining teeth sharpened to points, the whites of both eyes tinted green, and his tongue split into a fork. Tiamat has also had his chin altered nine times and nine piercings, among other procedures. He also underwent gender modification treatment.

Next up, Tiamat says, is the amputation “Mr. Bojangles,” his penis, along with having rainbow scales tatooed over every inch of skin, more horn implants, and both eyeballs stained  purple. The long term goal is to be transformed into a “genderless reptile” by 2025.

Good plan.

Observations: Continue reading

From The Ethics Alarms “I Don’t Understand This Story At ALL” Files, Georgia’s Dancing Doctor Fick

YouTube is stuffed with videos like the one above, posted by Dr. Fick, aka Dr. Windell Boutte, a Georgia dermatologist who poses as a plastic surgeon and who has rafts of malpractice suits pending against her. Though she claims otherwise on her website, she is a board-certified dermatologist, but not certified as a plastic surgeon or general surgeon.

However, in the Peach Tree State, every licensed physician is allowed  to perform operations, even if they are not a board-certified. They are not supposed to be dancing while they do, however. Well, this is implicit. Apparently it isn’t made clear enough, at least for this doctor. Boutte posts videos of herself dancing during surgery, like the one above. There are many more.

Thus she is a fick, the first medical variety I have encountered. A fick is someone who is openly, shamelessly, even gleefully unethical. The fact that this hyper-narcissist films herself doing choreography and mugging for the camera while the only thing on her mind should be her patient’s care demonstrates that she is wildly unethical, reckless, irresponsible and unprofessional, and this would be the case if her record for safety was squeaky clean. It isn’t. At least seven malpractice lawsuits against Boutte include claims that she used unqualified staff during procedures that left former patients disfigured. Two additional lawsuit settlements are listed on the state licensing website. And then there is the dancing around unconscious, exposed, patients while performing renditions of popular songs, such as “Bad and Boujee,” “Building up Fat in the Booty” and “Gut Don’t Live Here Anymore, while her staff act like the back-up singers.

(I can’t believe I’m writing this.) Continue reading

Jessica Rabbit Ethics

From Left: Jessica, Pixie Before, Pixie After

                          From Left: Jessica, Pixie Before, Pixie After

Who could have predicted, when “Who Framed Roger Rabbit?” opened in theaters, that one of its greatest legacies would be a continuing obsession of young women to emulate her exaggerated, uh, features? Yet here is another example—and there have been quite a few—of a woman mutilating herself in pursuit of looking like the sexy Toon.  Model Pixee Fox—I’m sure that’s her real name—wore a waist-training corset for 24 hours a day and spent $120,000 on various cosmetic procedures including a recent operation to have six of her ribs removed in order to achieve Jessica’s apparent 48-14-40 figure.

“I’ve always been inspired by cartoons and Disney movies, all the curves and tiny waists,” Fox told reporters. “People often, they come up to me and say, ‘Don’t take this the wrong way, but you look like a cartoon.’ For me that’s a compliment. My inspiration started with Tinkerbell, but with my transformation, I’ve been starting to look like Jessica Rabbit.”

If you say so, Pixee!  Pixee is ill, it’s fair to say, so the ethical issues fall on the shoulders of  Dr. Barry Eppley, the Indiana surgeon who admits handling Fox’s surgery and also defends it.

I covered this the last time Ethics Alarms covered a wannabe Mrs. Rabbit (Jessica is a human Toon married to a member Leporidae Family). In that case, the happy aspiring Toon looked like this when all was done…

Lips Continue reading

Ethics Hero: Advice Columnist Carolyn Hax

But it worked for Scarlet!

But it worked for Scarlett!

I’ve made Hax, the Washington Post’s relationship advice columnist, an Ethics Hero before. This time it’s for something more than her usual spot-on instincts about right and wrong, and more about her method of expressing them. You know I am not fond of weasel words, equivocation and gentle rhetoric when emphatic prose is called for, and Hax, though she is more prudent than I, laps her competition when it comes to firing off both barrels when it is called for.

In this response, she was responding to a man whose brother stopped speaking to him after he gently suggested to him that his niece had a huge honker for her face and it might be time to visit the local plastic surgeon. The advice-seeker lives  “in a community where a lot of teenage girls have cosmetic surgery at 16,” he explained, and both his wife and daughter had their noses made button-like. “Was I over the line in making this suggestion in a private setting?” he asked Hax.

Her unrestrained, wise and glorious response: Continue reading

Comment of the Day: “Three Breasted Ethics”

Alexander Cheezem contributed an informative and well-argued comment challenging my ethical conclusions in the case of “Jasmine Tridevil,” who supposedly had a surgically constructed third breast attached between her two natural ones in an effort to become a reality TV star. Her story turned out to be a scam, but the ethical analysis is still worthy of consideration. Ethics Alarms doesn’t have many medical ethics dilemmas to ponder, and it is a fascinating area. As I considered  Jasmine’s titillation, I suspected it might be a hoax, but from the standpoint of honing ethics alarms, it doesn’t matter. I’m kind of relieved, frankly. Continue reading

Three Breasted Ethics


UPDATE: Snopes, the urban legend and hoax website, now thinks that this is a scam. As I noted in the post, that would not be a surprise and in fact would be a relief. In such cases, I suggest that the post be read as a hypothetical, since the ethics issues raised by the three-breasted woman remain interesting, even if the story itself turns out to be fiction.

A 21-year-old woman being identified with the alias Jasmine Tridevil ( don’t over-think it) says she paid $20,000 to a plastic surgeon to  give her a realistic third breast. She wants to  become a TV reality show star. Jasmine has hired a camera crew to follow her around Tampa, Florida, documenting the challenges she faces as a three-breasted woman.

I know what you are thinking.

I HOPE this is a hoax.

“Jasmine” was rejected by more than 50 doctors who believed they would be violating professional ethical codes. Scot Glasberg, president-elect of the American Society of Plastic Surgeons, condemned the surgery as ‘worse than unethical’ and ‘harmful to society’. ‘This violates every ethical principle not just in surgery but in medicine as well. We look to enhance the norm. This is not the norm. Nothing speaks louder than the fact that the surgeon required the patient to sign a non-disclosure form.” Continue reading

Anderson Cooper vs. “Human Barbie”: A Double-cross Masquerading As Integrity

Sarah Burge, a.k.a “Human Barbie,” who actually contains more plastic than Plastic Barbie, who, come to think of it,  is quite possibly a better human being than “Human Barbie.” It’s complicated.

One of the wonderful things about the Internet is that somewhere out there is always someone who has seen through the fog of lies, spin, misrepresentations and conventional wisdom, and is writing about it. The first trick, of course, is finding such individuals, who may be part of the spin and confusion the very next day. The next one is getting the truth to as many people as possible.

When I heard that Anderson Cooper had kicked the plastic-surgery mutant named Sarah Burge off his show on the air, I was ready to give him an Ethics Hero award. Not only has Burge, who is known as “Human Barbie”, * indulged her pathological obsession with plastic surgery to spend almost a half-million dollars making herself look like the iconic Mattel doll, she is trying to make sure her daughters are similarly afflicted. She told Cooper she wants to botox her 15-year-old daughter, and she is setting up a trust for her 7-year-old so she can start mutilating herself when she turns 18.

Suddenly Cooper stopped the interview, saying, “I gotta be honest, I gotta just stop. I’m sorry. I try to be really polite to all my guests, but I just think you’re dreadful. I honestly don’t want to talk to you anymore.” Continue reading

Ethics Hero: Hillary Clinton

Those are four words I once would have bet I would never type.

Real. Honest. Brave. Beautiful. Thanks.

The Secretary of State deserves them though, for appearing in public, before the cameras, with no make-up and just a touch of lipstick. Let Fox News and the Matt Drudge mock: Hillary didn’t “forget her make-up.” She just decided “to hell with it.” And, as the Washington Post correctly noted, she looks just fine.

I just spent an event sitting next to the wife of a friend. She must be pushing 70, and her face and hair would not provide a single clue that she was more than 45, except for this: but for the movement of her eyeballs and occasionally her lips, her expression was completely unchanging.It was creepy. Her husband, whom I hadn’t seen in about ten years, was aging normally, but now his marriage of 40-plus years looked like he had robbed the cradle, albeit the cradle of a family afflicted with genetic facial paralysis. What’s the point? Why do American women feel the need to feign youth, even to those who they can’t possibly fool? Hillary looks like a real person to me; my friend’s wife looks like she may crumble into dust when the sunlight hits her. Continue reading

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? Continue reading

Post-Thanksgiving Ethics Quiz: Is This Ethical? (Giant Lips Edition)

Jessica also apparently has only one eye…

Look at the bright side: at least she didn’t have octuplets.

Kristina Rei, 22, of St. Petersburg, Russia, wants to look like Jessica Rabbit, so naturally she opted to get herself a pair of hugelips.She has undergone over 100 silicon-injection procedures, and considers it just the initial step in her quest to look like Roger Rabbit’s

Kristin’s hickies are deadly.

Toon wife from “Who Framed Roger Rabbit?”. “When I can afford it I want to enlarge my breasts from a C-cup to a DD, change the shape of my nose and I want to make my ears pointed like an elf,” she told reporters. “It’s good to be different.”

Well, she’s different, all right.

Your Post-Thanksgiving Ethics Quiz: Was it ethical for a plastic surgeon to give her the lips she wanted?

Plastic surgeons are subject to the Hippocratic Oath like other doctors, but in  cases of elective surgery the standards of what constitutes doing substantive harm to a patient are extremely elastic. None of the Codes of Ethics for plastic surgeons would clearly prohibit giving a patient lips that look like they belong on a Macy’s helium balloon, or similar exaggerated features. These lips make Kristina happy. Is she mentally ill? A doctor who suspected so would be wrong to submit to her wishes if they were based on clinically defective judgment, but the fact that a doctor thinks a patient will look like a freak if he does what she wants isn’t ethically dispositive. Continue reading