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A New Jersey woman has filed suit against an orthopedic surgeon who thought it was appropriate to place a removable tatoo on her while she was under anethesia. The doctor, Steven Kirshner, M.D. has offices in Marlton and Lumberton, New Jersey.

The red rose tatoo was placed below the panty line on the abdomen of Elizabeth Mateo of Pennsauken, N.J. on April 28, 2008. She had back surgery for a herniated disc at Virtua Hospital. The doctor is quoted as saying that he placed the removable tatoo because it was his intention to make the patient “feel better”.

Arthur Caplan, M.D. Chair of the Department of Medical Ethics at the Hospital of the University of Pennsylvania, said if the facts are true, the doctor was out of bounds. In addition to the lawsuit filed in the Superior Court of New Jersey, a complaint has been filed with the New Jersey Board of Medical Examiners. An alleged former employee of Dr. Kirshner has placed an entry on the blog, phillyburbs.com, contending that she also was a victim of Dr. Kirshner’s unwelcomed touches.

Early reaction to the case has been mixed with some feeling that Ms. Mateo should not have filed suit. Others feel the suit is meritorious because of the sensitive location the rose tatoo was placed without Ms Mateo’s consent. Both sides agree, however, that the doctor was wrong and should be held accountable for his actions.

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