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For your nose only

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For your nose only | Thaiger

BANGKOK: Doctors performing the wrong operations on their patients are the stuff of medical malpractice lore, so perhaps it was inevitable in plastic-surgery-obsessed Thailand: a woman who went in for cosmetic eye surgery emerged from the operating theater with a nose job instead. Nattha Masa, 40, paid the Ruamphaet Clinic in her home province of Samut Prakan 8,000 baht to have an extra fold surgically added to each of her eyelids, thus giving her a more Occidental appearance. On the morning of February 15, she reported to the clinic, where she was given three sedatives and told to sleep for two hours. Later, a driver arrived from the MD Clinic on the first floor of the popular Mahboonkrong shopping center in Bangkok. He said he had been told to transport the patient there, where her procedure would be carried out. Arriving there in a dopey state at about 2 pm, K. Nattha was given three more pills and told to get changed and wait for plastic surgeon Dr Pradit Charoenpong, who would carry out the delicate procedure. The doctor arrived at about 6 pm and soon K. Nattha was on the operating table, where she received local anesthetic injections to her face. Once she was comfortably numb, the doctor started cutting away. “During the surgery, I heard his mobile phone ring three times. I thought it was strange that he kept telling the callers, ‘I can’t talk to you now, I am doing a nose job.’ But I was just too groggy to say anything,” K. Nattha explained afterward. When the work was done, K. Nattha was told to rinse out her mouth. But when she did so, it was full of blood – just as it had been when she had nose surgery eight years previous. The full extent of the botch-up became evident when she looked into the mirror and saw that it was her nose, not her eyelids, that was covered in gauze. When she complained that she was in for eye surgery, not a nose job, the doctor said. “Oh, why didn’t you tell me that in the first place?” “He told me my nose was bad luck, and that’s why he had to fix it,” she said, adding that he then simply walked away when she tried to get an explanation, refusing to take any responsibility for having performed the wrong operation. She went to the clinic counter and picked up a bag of pills – you can’t leave a clinic in Thailand without doing so – and then went back to the first clinic to complain. Dr Pairoj said he would take responsibility, and got on the phone with his colleague at the shopping mall. Later the same evening, Dr Pradit told the press that the first clinic had sent the patient to him without any information. Seeing the state of the patient’s nose, which was out of alignment from her first surgery, he naturally assumed that a nose job was the order of the day. “I asked her how long it had been since her first nose surgery and told her I was going to fix her nose – but she didn’t say anything,” he explained, adding that he would refund 4,000 baht, do the eye surgery, and do any further work she wanted done on her nose free of charge. It was not reported if K. Nattha planned to take him up on the offer. Reports of such medical malpractice among Thailand’s plastic and reconstructive surgeons raises some frightening prospects. Given the rising popularity of “gender reassignment surgery” in Thailand, one can only wonder how long it will be before some poor male patient goes in for a face-lift and ends up losing his family jewels.

 

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