The beauty treatment

November 28th, 2012 atam Posted in Culture, General | No Comments »

Some years ago an elderly lady went to a plastic surgeon to have fat deposits removed from her eyelids, because they were obstructing her vision.

After the procedure, the plastic surgeon pointed at the wrinkles on her forehead and showed her half a tube of Botox. It was left over from a procedure with another patient, he said, and if she was happy to have it injected into her forehead, he’d do it for half the usual price.

The elderly lady is so appalled by his ethics deficit that she’s never tired of repeating the story to her friends since, particularly those who’ve been persuaded that they need some kind of beauty treatment to improve/restore their looks.

The value society places on appearances has caused many a tragedy, as the stories concerning DR Beauty and other mishaps at beauty salons show. What is rarely appreciated is the tragedy that lies behind the value society also places on superficial symbols of success, which is why the confession of a plastic surgeon, which you can watch here, is so interesting. His voice in the video isn’t very clear, so parts of the transcript are reproduced below.

Richard is a plastic surgeon who is “a typical product of today’s society… From young… I was told by the media… and people around me that happiness is about success. And that success is about being wealthy. With this mind-set, I’ve always be extremely competitive, since I was young…”

To be successful is to be a professional, so Richard went to medical school. Although he won two patents through his medical research, he wasn’t happy, because he wasn’t making any money; he decided he needed to become a private doctor, and that the plastic surgery industry offered the biggest opportunity for making lots of it.

“You know the irony is that people do not make heroes out of average GP (general practitioner), family physicians. They don’t. They make heroes out of people who are rich and famous. People who are not happy to pay $20 to see a GP, the same person have no qualms paying ten thousand dollars for a liposuction, 15 thousand dollars for a breast augmentation, and so on and so forth. So it’s a no brainer isn’t? Why do you want to be a GP? Become an aesthetic physician. So instead of healing the sick and ill, I decided that I’ll become a glorified beautician. So, business was good, very good. …

“So what do I do with the spare cash. How do I spend my weekends? Typically, I’ll have car club gatherings… I get myself a Ferrari… So what do I do after getting a car? It’s time to buy a house, to build our own bungalows. So we go around looking for a land to build our own bungalows, we went around hunting. So how do i live my life? Well, we all think we have to mix around with the rich and famous. This is one of the Miss Universe. So we hang around with the beautiful, rich and famous. This by the way is an internet founder. So this is how we spend our lives, with dining and all the restaurants and Michelin Chefs you know…

“So I reach a point in life that I got everything for my life. I was at the pinnacle of my career and all.”

And then, still barely 40 years ago, Richard discovered he had Stage 4 lung cancer – and suddenly saw the light.

“When I start to accumulate, the more I have, the more I want. The more I wanted, the more obsessed I became. Like what I showed you earlier on, all I can was basically to get more possessions, to reach the pinnacle of what society did to us, of what society wants us to be. I became so obsessed that nothing else really mattered to me. Patients were just a source of income, and I tried to squeeze every single cent out of these patients.

“A lot of times we forget, whom we are supposed to be serving. We become so lost that we serve nobody else but just ourselves. That was what happened to me. Whether it is in the medical, the dental fraternity, I can tell you, right now in the private practice, sometimes we just advise patients on treatment that is not indicated. Grey areas. And even though it is not necessary, we kind of advocate it… We kind of lose our moral compass along the way. Because we just want to make money.”

Sounds familiar? Richard ended his talk with this advice:

“Don’t let society tell you how to live. Don’t let the media tell you what you’re supposed to do. Those things happened to me. And I led this life thinking that these are going to bring me happiness. I hope that you will think about it and decide for yourself how you want to live your own life. Not according to what other people tell you to do, and you have to decide whether you want to serve yourself, whether you are going to make a difference in somebody else’s life. Because true happiness doesn’t come from serving yourself. I thought it was but it didn’t turn out that way. With that I thank you, if you have any questions you have for me, please feel free. Thank you.”


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