First, Do No … Hey, Wouldn't It Be Funny If …

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55 Responses

  1. Mike says:

    It's only creepy when you realize he licks them right before placing the tattoo on.

  2. Ken says:

    “What’s offensive about this complaint is that it suggests something he did was intended to be prurient, and nothing could be further from the truth,” said Agre. “It was intended just to make the patient feel better.”

    "not prurient" and "just intended to make the patient feel better" do not mix well with "below the panty line." Unless, like me, you wear your panties up around your armpits.

  3. Patrick says:

    Add anesthesia to "not prurient" and "make the patient feel better" and you have a three point play.

  4. J.W. Hamner says:

    Hmmm yes… a temporary My Little Pony tattoo on my forearm is probably a "HaHa! That Dr.Kirshner is such a card!"… a red rose around my junk probably results in physical violence.

    The only caveat would be a temporary tattoo around the area of surgery… which seems OK I guess, but I'm not sure that herniated disk surgery leaves you anywhere near the belly… though perhaps Dave can correct.

  5. Glen Van Istendal says:

    I know Dr. Kirshner as he is my doctor of choice to have a disc replacement surgical procedure. I trust him and others in the practice. This appears to be nothing more than a scam to try and extort money out of doctors and insurance companies. I hope they fight this to the end and win!!!

    Don't let em get you down Doc.

  6. Patrick says:

    I'm sure he's a great doctor Glen, but if the tattoo was intended as humor (Dr. Kirshner's lawyer as quoted in the Philly Inquirer admits the primary allegation is true) it was utterly inappropriate and shows an astonishing lack of judgment.

    What was he thinking?

  7. Reed says:

    "But a case like this is tailor-made for the doctrine that a plaintiff should be able to recover for severe emotional distress…."

    Really? Severe emotional distress?

    Don't get me wrong. What this doctor's alleged to have done is creepy and weird. But I find it hard to believe that anyone would suffer severe emotional distress from it, except an already emotionally unstable person.

  8. Patrick says:

    That's a damages argument Mr. Thin Skull, and it's the same one I'd make.

    But to be honest, if I woke up from surgery and found a tattoo a day later, I'm not sure I wouldn't be utterly horrified. I'd want to sue just to punish the perpetrator of what looks like a sick joke.

  9. Reed says:

    If you don't have evidence of severe emotional distress beyond "man, that weirdo really freaked me out", it's a summary judgment argument, not a damages argument.

    I don't think I'd be horrified. Perturbed and annoyed, probably. Horrified is a pretty high standard.

    Different strokes for different folks.

  10. Patrick says:

    It's New Jersey Reed. They sue for emotional distress when the store runs out of orange body spray.

  11. JD says:

    It states that he placed the tattoo on her belly; I guess she pulls her underwear up over her bellybutton. Give me a break, and get over it, I bet if he was a plastic surgeon and placed it on her boob's she wouldn’t have said a word. Don’t forget she was rolled into the room on her back, and then was put under, that’s most likely when she got her tattoo, and since she was covered, that was the exposed area. But that’s typical; (Camden County woman)I bet she got the surgery to help with the last law suit from getting rear ended in a minor fender bender.

  12. Patrick says:

    JD, if you don't know what goes into lumbar surgery be glad. I've been defending personal injury suits for years and I've still never met a single solitary person I thought was faking once it got to the point of surgery.

    "Oh praise Jesus! A lumbar disc removal! I'm gonna get rich! Oh give me another one of those lumbar fusions! I just love it when the doctor puts rods in my back!"

    And I know exactly what you mean by bringing up Camden County. I'm not impressed.

  13. Glen says:

    It goes to show that in this country, you can sue for anything.

  14. Ron says:

    Quick question…Was there an injury here? Oh wait, no there wasn't, so i guess the fact that you've been defending personal injury suits for years doesn't mean diddly squat. And don't try and tell me being extremely emotionally upset over a wash off tattoo is injury, cause its not. I'd like to add that herniated discs, especially in the lumbar spine are not necessarily operated on from the back. In fact, incisions are quite often made from the front, in the belly region. Oh and fyi- read the original article and it goes first to say the tattoo was placed on her belly, then later on says below the panty line. Perhaps a such an exaggeration is to attract more attention to the article, rather than make it entirely absurd. Additionally Doctor Kirshner has done this for 19 years on every patient to cheer them up, always with six or more people in the OR with him. How dare anyone imply he was doing anything lecherous. God forbid a doctor tries to help a patient feel better.

  15. Patrick says:

    So can I drug you and put a tattoo on your belly Ron? I hear It'll help you feel better.

    You seem kinda tense.

  16. Ken says:

    I think maybe a smiley face would be even better.

    Touching without consent is inappropriate. A doctor has his or her patient's explicit and implied content to touch to the extent necessary to treat. That does not extend to doing additional things that amuse the doctor. There may be no injury if the doctor cops a few gratuitous feels while a patient is out, but that wouldn't be appropriate either.

    Frankly this sounds like branding to me — not like cattle branding, but like marketing ("I'm the surgeon who gives you happy tattoo! Tell your friends!") It's no more appropriate than if he put on his favorite Bible or Dianetics verse. It's creepy, narcissistic of the doctor, and inappropriate. That's true whether or not there are real damages.

  17. Ken says:

    Heh. I said "narcissistic of the doctor." Which is, of course, a tautology.

    That reminds me of one of my favorite Dilbert cartoons. Dogbert is running a career consulting program. He's interviewing a huge, hulking, menacing looking fellow.

    Dogbert: "It says here that you like to run your hands through other people's internal organs. That makes you suited to be a serial killer or a surgeon. Um .. do you like other people?"

    Fellow: "Other people are insignificant insects."

    Dogbert: "Hmm. I'll have to go to a tie-breaker question."

  18. Ron says:

    Touching without consent is inappropriate. this is true obviously, but when it comes to the patient feeling better, anything that can do so should be done. A Doctor's objective is not to compartmentalize the body and treat only that area, but to treat the person as a whole and bring them as close to perfect health as possible. A good doctor not only treats the the body, but the mind as well and if these temporary tattoos aid in the person feeling better than by all means it should be done.

    I seem kinda tense because this is an outrageous lawsuit and as medical student I take it personally. How am i supposed to treat people if when i go above and beyond the call of duty to make someone feel better than they can potentially sue me for doing my job too well. Why should I treat someone who may intend to harm me? Its simply an abuse of the legal system and and warning to all good doctors. just absurd and upsetting.

  19. Patrick says:

    Do they teach you that it's best practice to place fake tattoos on anesthetized patients Ron? In either general surgery or psychiatry rotations? I think not.

    I'll be blunt. Surgery with general anesthesia is scary as hell, whatever the doctor thinks (to him it's just a day at the office) because people die on the operating table. It's always traumatic. Normal people are paranoid enough about doctors.

    Mrs. Mateo obviously wasn't told about this special "service" Dr. Kirshner provides. She can make a creditable case that she thought Dr. Kirshner had placed a real tattoo on her while she was anesthetized.

    Believe it or not, this has actually happened to real people.

  20. J.W. Hamner says:

    "Touching without consent is inappropriate. A doctor has his or her patient’s explicit and implied content to touch to the extent necessary to treat."

    OK, this is sort of nitpicky, and I don't mean to imply that temporary tattoos fall under this… but I hope that statement is completely untrue, since I want doctors or properly trained peeps to be allowed to preform any number of procedures without explicit consent. I'm not in favor of protecting my rights as a patient if it means dying because I didn't sign a contract allowing the use of of atropine.

    I'm not adverse to the idea of damage done in this case, depending on particulars, but y'all are saying a Big Bird band aid I didn't approve of in advance, might be grounds for a lawsuit.

  21. Ken says:

    How am i supposed to treat people if when i go above and beyond the call of duty to make someone feel better than they can potentially sue me for doing my job too well.

    Well, you could exercise even minimal good judgment about what the appropriate scope of "making the patient feel better" means. And you could avoid seeing the patient's body as belonging to you, but see the patient as having given you consent in a very limited scope to treat them.

    Let me repeat my hypothetical. How would you feel about a doc who put on temporary tats of his favorite holy verses on patients because the doc thought it would cheer them up? How about a doc writing "Howdy [patient]! Hope you are feeling swell!" on the incision site in marker?

  22. J.W. Hamner says:

    Oops, I read Ken's comment wrong…. at first I thought he meant anything related to whatever you came to do at the hospital… but the word "treatment" implies anything that a doc needs to do. Apologies.

  23. Ken says:

    OK, this is sort of nitpicky, and I don’t mean to imply that temporary tattoos fall under this… but I hope that statement is completely untrue, since I want doctors or properly trained peeps to be allowed to preform any number of procedures without explicit consent. I’m not in favor of protecting my rights as a patient if it means dying because I didn’t sign a contract allowing the use of of atropine.

    Modern surgery releases cover every eventuality. You won't find anything about cosmetic changes to cheer up the patient in such contracts, though, even though they are vetted by lawyers and teams of doctors. That's because no reasonable doctor would think it appropriate.

  24. Ron says:

    No reasonable doctor would think it appropriate to make the patient feel better. okay, go ask one and let me know what he tells you. Also, marker doesn't come off quite as easily as a temporary tattoo and holy verses are an entirely different ballgame because then you go ahead and involve religion which is in no way related to this case. the doctor placed a temporary symbol of "get better" (at least thats what i remember roses to signify when in relation to being unwell) on a patient. he didnt say "may christ help you feel better and oh, ps- the jews suck" or anything. come on people.

  25. Patrick says:

    Ron, if you'd bother to read the linked article, an expert in medical ethics is quoted within the story and provides the opinion that what Dr. Kirshner did was totally inappropriate. His intent isn't at issue here (though I take a more cynical view than some of why he did this, my opinion isn't relevant), but his judgment is.

    Do you feel it appropriate to place temporary tattoos on anesthetized patients without their consent and without telling them in advance? Honestly?

  26. Ron says:

    I'm well aware of the gentleman from the University of Penn who said that Dr. Kirshner should not have done this. Although at the same point I dont recall it saying anywhere that he was an expert. Just because he is the chairman at UPenn quite frankly doesnt mean anything. I know many people who went there and they don't know their butt from their forehead. Last I checked, you cannot be an expert in ethics. You may know all the different ethical views but that does in no way mean that your opinion of a matter is right. Ethics is a subject that is continually under debate just as this topic is. There are no absolutely set rules, only guidelines agreed upon by the majority. Nonetheless, what Kirshner did does not violate any code of ethics I can think of since he touched a patient.

    And the biggest point to be made of all is that no where, anywhere does it say he did it against her consent. Every article I've read on this subject says he did it while she was under anesthesia. Thats not to say he didnt inform her beforehand that he puts tattoos on patients to cheer them up. In fact, she didnt have a problem with it until her husband noticed it. So who i asked was the one who had the problem? The wife, or the domineering husband?

    Honestly, the point here is to say that none of us know the entire facts from this short, most likely media biased, article. I simply request that you not be so quick to condemn the man. You should perhaps turn your cynical gaze towards the media and lawyers and consider why perhaps they might embellish (cough, ratings, cough, money)

    I only speak so vehemently on his behalf because I do personally know the man and he is a wonderful doctor, let alone an excellent friend.

  27. Patrick says:

    Ron, calm down. I'm sure Kirshner is a great guy, seeing as how so many people who know him are visiting this blog.

    But answer the question. No one is going to call you as a witness. Do you feel that what he did was appropriate?

  28. David says:

    Back in the day, I enjoyed his rock concert.

  29. Maureen says:

    I can't believe we are even entertaining this. Dr. Kirshner kept me off the operating table for over 10 years and I took my kids to have thier broken bones set by him due to his sense of humor. Anyone who truely know him, knows that this is what is to love about him. His sense of humor….. I would expect nothing less from him. When he set my sons broken arm he blew up a glove as a balloon to entertain him and to assess which arm was broken. I had my fusion done in Phila and I would have laughed if I had a temporary tatoo. I am a DON in the healthcare field and am so tired of the patients that abuse the system. This ones tops all. Just when you thought you heard it all. Maureen

  30. Ezra says:

    Hey, look OOTS has something to say about emotional damages. Is there anything webcomics can't fix?

    http://www.giantitp.com/comics/oots0576.html

  31. Kevin says:

    wow this law suit is ridiculous, Dr. Kirshner is probably the nicest man anyone could ever meet. He is literally a modern day patch adams. The news likes to twist up a story to make it sound good, but the truth is he has been doing this for almost 20 years and every patient beside this low life woman loves him. OJ can get away with murder, but a doctor with a sense of humor to cheer up his patients gets sued. Whats wrong with America?

  32. Shrek says:

    I'm going to reserve judgement until I find out whether he does this to all patients; male, female, young, old or if he's more 'selective'.

  33. davka says:

    how dare she not want him turning her over and touching her below the panty line when she's unconscious!

    are you kidding? this was a total violation of her privacy, her body, and her trust. I hope she gets him for all he has. Bravo to her for her courage and just wait and see how many of his previous patients come forward after this.

  34. Rachel says:

    I've had 3 major surgeries by Dr. Kirshner. Treated with him for over 10 years…very bad accident. Anyway, I never got lucky enough to get a tattoo. But seriously..He is a loving, caring, and funny guy. He truly cares about his patients and being in pain. I would never have gotten through what I did without his caring nature and yes he has a sense of humor which helps put me at ease during stressful times like major back surgery. I guess in today's world of sue crazy people it was dumb to do this..but I can truly say he is not the pervert that people are making him to be. He really does love and care about his patients and really wants you to feel better deep down. I'd recommend him to anyone. I can understand this woman may not know him well enough and got freaked out–which is why Dr. K probably should not do things like this…but come on.. Give him a chance to explain..give people a chance for goodness sake. Not everyone is out for evil. He really is good.

  35. Jim says:

    Rachael is absolutly correct!!! There are a lot of people posting here that have never met Dr. K, let alone had an procedure done by him. I have and his OUTSTANDING bedside mannor put me at ease during a very anxious time before and after the surgery. Understand that there would have to have been at least 4 other people in the OR with him when he put the tempoary tattoo on the woman. There was nothing sneaky about it. I personally will not allow another back doctor to touch my back. The idea that a temporary tatto can cause emotional damages is rediclous.

  36. yehudasf says:

    Physician Violated Sexual Misconduct Guidelines

    This Dr. Kirschner should know that if the surgical site does not involve the peri-vaginal area, that you NEVER, EVER expose, observe, manipulate, fondle, or "temporarily tattoo" anything therein.

    This man has, at the very least serious impulse control/judgement issues. To callously "mark access" on an unconscious patient's genital region, with absolutely no medical justification is sexual misconduct.

    Those defending this man's actions would do well to ask themselves how they would feel if their daughter were to come out of a BACK surgery with a tattoo very near her vagina.

    The physician is grossly at fault & he should both lose his license (punative but temporary suspension pending counseling) & pay a very hefty amount to the woman whom he callously sexually abused.

    I've followed the cast of "sock puppets" that are posting the same phony-defenses of this perv on several comment sites. On one the ip addresses are displayed, & of course the sock puppets had no idea that just because you log on with a different name *but using the same pc, or network connection* that they would be outed. What a hoot, liars & technologically maladroit. Below is what I posted after seeing the same ip for 11 different posts under different names.

    Kirschner's Cronies /Clinic Clique Bogus-Posting

    Sort of sad to see the cast of clowns attempting to post as "happy patients", or outraged "anti-litigation" activists, that are clinic cronies/friends/family of the (now) infamous Dr. Kirschner.

    Hint to the technologically impaired: no matter what name you post with, using the same computer/network connection "outs" you… look up IP address & you will realise that you are not being really very clever. Every site you visit gets your IP, think of it as a printable *69 for web-connected computers.

  37. Jeff S. says:

    I am not a "sock puppet" (check my IP). I am just an ordinary guy with a bad back. I am a current patient of Dr. Kirshner. I have been "Tatattooed" post surgery. I am greatful for his skills, both in the operating room and at the bedside. I do not question his intentions and would happly trust my wife and daughter to his care. Even if you agree with Mateo, she sounds a little litigation-happy.
    How about just telling Dr. Kirshner that his intentions are appreciated, but he needs to stop with the temporary tattoos? I mean, was she really harmed in this case? Does every concern have to involve a windfall financial settlement?

  38. Sam E. says:

    Wow back up the sexual misconduct train Yehudasf! And get off your soap box before you fall and need surgery with Dr Kirshner. No where did anyone mention the "genitals"…It mentions "belly" and "below the pantyline" as in the waistband. Last time I looked down the bellybutton to the underware line was not the genitals.

    That being said I am fairly sure that this guy thought it was an amusing way to cheer his patients, I disagree with the practice. All the good ole doc had to do was to let his patients know or ask permission for his personal post-op pick-me-up.

    As to the one poster who says doctors should only be touching the surgical area…God forbid your wish comes true. Its bad enough that a GP examination sometimes does not even require the removal of ones clothing anymore, just a short Q&A and a listen to the heart and lungs through ones sweatshirt. Physicians are so afraid of potential allegations they don't even have you disrobe anymore. If things continue even a comforting touch to the shoulder will be deemed inappropriate.

    Once again I don't think this doctors practice of random tattooing was smart in this day in age he was bound to get called on teh carpet eventually.

  39. Patrick says:

    I'm beginning to suspect that this doctor has hired David Axelrod.

  40. yehudasf says:

    Sam E. Yet another shill for the miscreant Dr. Kirschner. Sam, since you seem to be deficient in knowledge of anatomy, the area in which this pervert placed the tattoo is part of the peri-vaginal area, in other words, NEAR THE GENITALIA. If you are too stupid to understand the area in question, it is below an imaginary line drawn across the lowest portion of the abdomen from the right to left iliac crest. Think of the area of a "bikini wax".

    Next time when you seek to shill, make certain that you are informed about the particulars involved in the event, you might then look like less of a fool.

  41. Carl says:

    How ridiculous. Dr. Kirschner is a true godsend. He is a magician when it comes to surgery. As a person who has been operated on by the doctor, I can't thank him enough for giving me my life back. He has a wonderful bedside manner, good humor, and very caring. I would never trust any other doctor with my care or for that matter any relative or friend. As far as this tattoo, so what. He was not the only person present at the time. Unless of course now his whole team are a bunch of perverts. Not. The so called victim should be ashamed of herself for trying to cash in on something so unimportant. Shame on her and her husband for trying to ruin a brilliant surgeon for monetary gain. It is a wonder any surgeons will touch anyone. God Bless you Dr. Kirschner.

  42. yehudasf says:

    Another appearance by Carl-the-sockpuppet. Your attempts to smear the victim are as transparent as the lies told by the other Kirschner cronies. Fortunately the court system will adjudicate this matter, not a gang of 15 cronies furiously posting/spamming comment boards every chance they get.

    Kirschner should be severely reprimanded, have his licence suspended (pending successful counselling) and be made to pay a very hefty settlement to the victim of his perversity.

  43. Carl says:

    yehudsaf, get over yourself. You dont know me. So let me in form you. I have never posted any comments on any site until now. Because I usually have no interest. As far as being a cronie, I have not seen or heard from anyone associated with Dr. Kirshner , or the doctor himself for atleast 9 years. Because of the remarkable job he did with my surgery. Please do not presume that you know my motives. Because you do not. I am only defending the man I know to be a wonderful ,caring,brilliant surgeon.Also please dont waste your misguided attempt to smear anyone who defends the good doctor. This is my last post and I will not be reading anything further on this matter. So save your venomous attack. We who have had surgery known the doctor have been blessed by your skill know the real you, these others are just mean spirited individuals with bad judgement. God Bless you Dr. Kirshner

  44. yehudasf says:

    "Nyah-Nyah-Nyah…. I'm going to tell lies & then run away with my fingers in my ears", how expected for a sad little sockpuppet like Carl. Not only is he congenitally unable to speak the truth, but he cannot even form his own talking points and has to try to steal them from the posts of others. Perhaps you can take up a collection for the pervo-doc when he is in the docket. He will get his just desserts, & hopefully it will leave him poorer, but wiser.

  45. Sony R says:

    I really think that alot of people have lost their sense of humor these days, I am 57 yrs old and I would think it was a cheerful tatto and yes, a funny thing for him to do. This doctor has a good reputation and I think that he even tries to humor his patients is a great way to getting them onto the path of recovery. People run around half naked at beaches and probably expose more than where he placed the temp. tatt – give me (and the Dr.) a break! People are just dying to sue over trivial matters, it is not like she was sexually abused while she was under! By the way, wonder how she feels about her surgery? What is her pain level in her back now?
    Former Burlington resident

  46. Sony R says:

    This one is for Mike, since when do you lick temporary tattoos to apply them? The directions say to moisten with a damp cloth or sponge, do you really think a doctor would 'lick' a tattoo in surgery?
    Tattoo or no tattoo, I really would like to know how his patient's back is feeling in comparison to before the surgery! A rose? Maybe he should have placed it on her forehead! LOL

  47. Joe T. says:

    Amazing. Yes, it is a litigious world we live in… soon people will be suing because they think they caught a cold from someone else. As for Doc. Kirschner, I will be seeing him soon… I am in need of the best surgeon around, and everyone is recommending him. He can put temp tattoos all over me, as long as he fixes my back. It's sad that some people pretend to be emotionally scarred by trivial events in order to litigate. Opportunistic leaches… AKA petty litigation.

  48. Patrick says:

    I don't have as many socks in my drawer as I have in the comments to this post.

  49. Joe T. says:

    Maybe you need to buy more socks for your drawer..??

    "She can make a creditable case that she thought Dr. Kirshner had placed a real tattoo on her while she was anesthetized."

    "Believe it or not, this has actually happened to real people."

    Ok… before I thought it'd only happened to fake people.

    Only with a lawyers help could she attempt to make a credible case. And only in New Jersey would she be able to get a jury that would stop laughing long enough to agree that free money from a doctors insurance company over-rides any semblance of common sense. She doesn't have 'damages', she has no brains, is an hysteric, and overly litigious.

    And… you might as well put up some examples of surgeons putting real tattoos on patients while under anesthesia. Your favorite socks are waiting…

  50. Patrick says:

    Sadly the doctor for whom you're sock puppeting has obliterated all coverage on the question, Joe T., but see here and here for similar stories of creepy surgeons and the abuse that can occur under anesthesia.

    I understand that you and your ilk love Dr. Kirshner. I'd still be plenty pissed if this happened to me.

  51. Joe T. says:

    Your sounding a little 'paranoid' Patrick. You believe that the doctor to whom I've been referred is "obliterating all coverage on the question,"
    Ummm… What question was that..??? The two links you provide are not related to your statements. One is about someone 'taking a picture'… that's not tattooing. The other is about a Dentist… we're talking surgeons here. So basically, you can not come up with ONE case of a surgeon, in a hospital or surgi-center that tattoed (permantly) a patient while under anesthesia. In fact you can't come up with one case of 'abuse' under anesthesia by a surgeon, can you.

    Love Dr. Kirshner..?? No more than I love the surgeon who did my last back surgery, in 1991. Sadly, he has retired, so I must find another. And sorry, but I'll have to pee on your sad parade again… turns out Kirshner isn't "in" my health plan… so I'll have to find another who is just as good. I was kinda looking forward to the tattoo…

    You'd be mad if he put a temporary tattoo on you..????? Then you're just a sad, obnoxious crybaby, who has never been in real pain before. Those who've experienced the real pain from spinal problems would care less about a silly temporary tattoo.

    Listen to yourself whining about it, and it didn't even happen to YOU.

  52. Patrick says:

    Joe, I can read your IP address.

  53. yehudasf says:

    Patrick, a common failing of the sock-puppet types, like "Joe" here is that the have no clue about how easily traceable their ip addresses are. On a different comment board wherein Dr. PERVERT has been thoroughly excoriated for his act of sexual perversion, a couple of "sock puppets" posted 12 comments (all supporting the perv) from different USER IDs, blissfully unaware that we saw, recoreded & published their (all the same) ip addresses.

    Keep the scrutiny on this Kirschner pervert, it is the right thing to do, & you are helping the economy by getting him to pay sad sacks like this "Joe-blow" to type missives in his defence.

    By the way, want to compare ip logs? I have a feeling I know exactly who this Joe turkey is, might be fun to establish yet more of his on line idiocy.

    Even more fun is printing a full copy of the WHOIS attached to their ips, especially when it resolves to the clinic associated with Kirschner.

    What amateurs.

  54. ann J says:

    You're all missing the point – the patient was lying about the location of the tatoo – it wasn't by her bikini line. Don't believe everything you read – this is definitely a scam to get money – but in the meantime it's ruining the life of a talented and good person.

  55. yehudasf says:

    No, ann, you have missed the point — doctor pervo befouled the body of an anaesthetised patient, in an area not to be violated.

    He is a pervert & needs to be fined in a large way. As for his sock-puppet cronies (sound familiar?), they should crawl back to the hole from whence they emerged.