Friday, August 8, 2008

While You Were Sleeping

A surgeon in New Jersey is being sued by a patient for applying temporary tattoo of a rose to her pelvic region without her knowledge while she was under anesthesia.

"She and her husband were getting her dressed to come home and when she took off her gown, that's when she recognized that she had this tattoo below her panty-line," Mateo's attorney Gregg Shivers said.

During the operation for a herniated disc, Mateo was on her stomach, so Mateo and her lawyer claim the tattoo was placed on her by her doctor, Steven Kirshner, at some point afterwards when she would have had nothing on but a hospital gown.

Shivers claims Kirshner violated Mateo's right to privacy.

"Both her and her husband pretty much freaked out and they had no idea how it got there, she had been alone in the hospital, heavily medicated for pain the night before," Shivers said.
The surgeon claims that he has applied tattoos to many of his patients in order to "lift their spirits" after surgery.

Frank Farley, a psychologist at Temple University who was read a summary of the lawsuit, speculated about why a surgeon who had performed an operation on the back would leave a red rose on his patient's belly.

"It is not part of the doctor-patient relationship in that case," said Farley, a former president of the American Psychological Association who studies risk-taking personalities and behavior. "Unless you think you are Georgia O'Keeffe and you think people's bodies are your canvas," he said, "why would you take that risk?"

In her post on the story, Karnythia at Angry Black Woman writes:

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.

Well, I’m with the women who yell back, who walk away, who press charges and file lawsuits. Because it is past time we got past this idea that being nice = being a willing victim that never complains. I don’t want to live in a reality where people think marking an unconscious woman without her permission is a-okay because it’s temporary, or he didn’t mean any harm, or there’s no proof that he “actually molested her” so she shouldn’t seek legal recourse. I know I’m talking crazy, but wouldn’t be nice to live in a world where women were viewed as people first?

We're with you, Karnythia.

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