Monday, September 27, 2004

Another body count

I have been searching the web unsuccessfully for any sign of a site which keeps a count of deaths resulting from plastic surgery. No surgery is without its risks and after last weekend's college reunion when I discovered a friend of mine from college has ALREADY had botox (she must be under 30...) I have started to develop a hypersensitivity to the balance of media coverage on the issues. So far apart from Awful Plastic Surgery which has a negative slant (mostly) to its stories, I really can't find very much other than enthusiasm for these dangerous proceedures in the media.

Naturally over the nice posh dinner I quizzed my friend about why she'd had botox and she said that she thought she needed it because she had a "really animated face". Well maybe I'm biased because of my erstwhile second career in comedy and the need to be expressive but I think an animated face is a good thing!

A few weeks back at a different party I met a nurse who works at a London hospital for plastic surgery patients. She told me two things that made me uncomfortable: Firstly that she thought 99% of the people coming in for treatment were actually really very attractive people - not people with any sort of genuine disfigurement or even people who could be descibed as below average for looks. Secondly she said these days younger and younger patients are coming in, mostly women, including some who were still halfway through puberty but had already decided they wanted breast enlargement. And their mothers would come in with them, encouraging them and often paying for them as a birthday present, etc.

Well anyway someone else pointed out to me recently that Olivia Goldsmith died from complications arising from cosmetic surgery and I wondered how I'd missed it and all the natural outcry that it should have generated.

Anyway a bit of research shows another death at the same hospital where OG died. And then this website says there have been over 100 deaths from liposuction in the US in the period to 1998. Also Rosemarie Mondeck died after liposuction. Then there was the animation company founder Micheline Charest. Another four are listed here. And another five here. As I dig I keep finding more and more. This Cosmo article says 20 out of 100,000 liposuction patients dies. Running total 118, but I suspect that is the tip of the iceberg.

Evidence (as if we needed it) also suggests that women who elect to have plastic surgery are twice as likely to commit suicide than the rest of us. Perhaps referring these people to unscrupulous plastic surgeons rather than psychiatrists to figure out where their self-confidence issues are coming from wasn't a good idea either.

Need I remind the reading public that no-one has ever EVER died of ugliness...?

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