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Check Plastic Surgeon's Credentials or Risk Tragic Results, Experts Warn
Date:9/26/2011

time. That it was simple. But I said no. I said, 'I don't want to deal with two pains at the same time.'"

"But when I woke up I found that she had operated on my eye, on both my eyes, without my permission! I was shocked and upset. And in pain. So much pain."

As it turns out, Rodriguez's physician had removed so much skin from around the eyes that Rodriguez was no longer able to fully close them. What's more, the breast surgery had been botched as well, the result of two breast implants having been inserted into one packet.

"We hear these stories over and over again," warned ASPS president Dr. Malcolm Z. Roth. "And worse. Situations arising from 'my friend who gave me the reference.' And to that I say: you spend time researching buying a car. You look for a safe car, and you put on your seatbelt. You take it seriously. But unfortunately people often think that getting cosmetic surgery is something else. It's not. It's serious. You're taking your life into your hands."

"Because these are not emergency procedures, you have an opportunity to do the homework," noted Roth, who is also chief of plastic surgery at the Albany Medical Center in Albany, NY. "You make sure that the person you're considering going to is first off a physician, of course. And most important, that they're board-certified in plastic surgery by the ASPS. Not in some other field."

Because appearances can be misleading. Part of the new ASPS campaign is focused on a problem the group calls "white coat deception": the fact that just because a doctor has a medical license does not mean he or she is properly trained and qualified to perform plastic surgery.

The problem stems from the fact that only four states (California, Florida, Louisiana, and Texas) have laws on the books requiring that physicians take steps to disclose the specifics of their medical background. In all other states, no such regulations exist. That leaves a pediatrician or a gastroenterologist, for
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