Nude photo trauma: teen upset by doctor's remarks

PHOTO: Nude photo trauma: teen upset by doctor's remarks

SINGAPORE - The teenager who sued well-known plastic surgeon Martin Huang over nude photographs taken before a scar-removal operation has now taken issue with his post-settlement remarks to the media.

The 17-year-old girl settled her lawsuit for personal trauma and distress she suffered as a result of the photographs by Dr Huang on Tuesday . After the settlement, Dr Huang told a local media outlet that he was "not apologising for wrongdoing but for the distress of her experience."

He said the photos were "not wrongly taken" and that the case had been settled amicably "without any admission of liability."

The girl, who cannot be named as she is a minor, broke down after reading his remarks, The Straits Times (ST) reported.

She told reporters that she will "never ever forget" what happened to her and that his remarks had reopened many wounds and "really hurt" her.

She added that all she had wanted was for him to accept his mistake and for what happened to her to never happen to any other person. Her remarks were delivered through her lawyer Melanie Ho.

The teenager had gone to Dr Huang's clinic with her mother last November to have a scar on her upper thigh removed.

He mother signed a consent form for the procedure, which included the taking of photos, before leaving to take care of her sick son at home.

The girl later told her mother in a distressed manner that she was made to strip naked and photographs were taken of her.

The teen alleged that there was a lack of informed consent and negligence on the part of Dr Huang, which caused her to suffer "extreme mental distress and trauma."

The terms of the settlement are not known, but include the destruction of the photographs and an open and unequivocal letter of apology and regret for his actions by the doctor.

In an e-mail to the press, her parents said they had been pleased with the outcome of the settlement and had wished to close his traumatic chapter in their daughter's life.

However, their happiness was short-lived as they are now "aggrieved" by the position he has taken with the media, as it is not consistent with the terms and spirit of the settlement, the e-mail said.

The girl's parents also said there was no need for the girl's bra to be removed, which Dr Huang himself admitted to in his defence papers.

When contacted by The New Paper yesterday, Dr Huang said he still maintains he did not do anything wrong.

He said he was not present when his nurses told the girl to remove her bra as part of the pre-operation procedure.

He added that the operation equipment can cause the metal clips in the bra to burn a patient's skin.

He agreed to allow her to put her bra back on for the photo-taking but the bra was removed again for the operation, he said.