I just read an interesting story that may possibly give new definition to the notion of “frivilous” lawsuits. You be the judge:

In a lawsuit filed yesterday, a Camden County woman accused her orthopedic surgeon of “rubbing a temporary tattoo of a red rose” on her belly while she was under anesthesia.

The patient discovered the tattoo below the panty line the next morning, when her husband was helping her get dressed to go home after the operation for a herniated disc, her attorney, Gregg A. Shivers, said in a phone interview yesterday.

“She was extremely emotionally upset by it,” said Shivers. The suit, filed on behalf of Elizabeth Mateo in Camden County Superior Court, seeks punitive and compensatory damages from Steven Kirshner, a board-certified orthopedic surgeon with offices in Marlton and Lumberton, both in Burlington County.

Kirshner does not deny placing the tattoo – and has left washable marks on patients before to improve their spirits, his lawyer, Robert Agre of Haddonfield, said last night. He said none has complained.

I originally found out about the story while over at the Angry Black Woman’s joint. I posted a comment that — for some reason — was not published. So I gave it another crack later. I forgot exactly what I said in my unpublished comment, but here’s what I said the second time around (this comment is still in moderation. I guess being a male with a dissenting opinion is not the way to go):

This is what I posted on ABW:

It’s no secret that we live in a pretty litigious society; where everybody is suing everybody else. So this comes at no suprise. In fact, I’d even go as far as to say that this woman deserves the right to file a lawsuit. But before I’m ready to jump on the side of “Team Victim”, I’d like to see exactly what dollar amounts she’s talking here. If it’s a figure that will ensure the end of the doctor’s career, it will be hard for me to as strong a proponent of the “victim” as I’d like to be.

Bodily manipulation of a non-medicinal nature was DEFINITELY a bad call by the doc; even if it has been pardoned by all of his previous patiets. Also, I suspect that the tattoos’s placement also represents an issue of submerged sexism; as he somehow assumed that it would be OK to use the pelvic area for his female patient (as opposed to the arm, hand, or some other innocent location). As such, punishment is necessary. I get that. But his intention has to be considered. If it’s true that he temporarily tattoed people to “raise their spirits” (as far as I can tell, this has gone uncontroverted) it’s hard to demand his head on a platter.

I won’t go as far as some of the commenters from the article. Those jokers were just crass. But if Mateo goes for the juggular and tries to ruin this doctor’s life over something that can wash off, it would be damn near impossible for her to garner any sympathy/support from me.

I contacted the site’s administrator. I’ll wait for her response before I draw a conclusion on whether or not my thoughts were too ‘anti-victim’ to get recognized. Again, we shall see. But whether or not one blog host decides to publish my thoughts on the matter, I at least have my own blog to declare to the world how full of (you know what) this woman and this case could potentially be.

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Update: I was able to get the comment moderation thing resolved. My comment was simply lost in ABW’s comment que. I jumped the gun with my assumptions about having my comment removed. To the authors of Angry Black Woman, please accept my apologies!

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– ACL

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