A surgeon from the University of Miami Health System has resigned following backlash after posting offensive Instagram photos of patients during procedures.
Dr Christopher Salgado, who worked at Miami Health’s LGBTQ Center for Wellness, Gender and Sexual Health and is renowned for his specialty in transgender health, deleted his Instagram account, @sexdoctor, on February 16th after receiving outraged feedback from followers, one of which also complained directly to the university.
Users found a number of images to be disturbing and mocking in nature – one allegedly depicted a patient receiving a procedure on his genitals, another; a CT scan of a patient with a sex toy in his rectum and the surgeon smiling with it in-hand after its removal. Dr. Salgado stated that the images were intended for educational purposes. Speaking to The New York Times, he said “It was a bad decision to even open an Instagram account, looking at it now. The purpose really was to be educational with it, but it went awry. Yeah, these [photos] are patients’ genitals, but it was teaching. It was basically educational: This is how we do this transformation. I felt like it really was educational.”
Dr. Salgado claimed that the hashtags accompanying the posts were the cause of the backlash as opposed to the images themselves, many of which users felt were not only unprofessional and mocking but racist, transphobic and homophobic.
“The hashtags were what people found the most offensive,” Dr. Salgado told The New York Times. “It doesn’t seem like it is related to the content that much because it was meant to be educational. But once the hashtags were added it became different.”
He said during the interview that while he did not write some of the hashtags, he was responsible for a portion of them. Dr. Salgado also claimed that he was not in violation of his patient’s privacy as the photos did not directly identify anyone.
University officials allegedly told Dr. Salgado that, as a result of the events, he would be suspended while they conducted an investigation. Before they could proceed, it is said that he resigned via email. Officials confirmed he is no longer employed there.
“The University of Miami is committed to promoting and supporting diversity in its students, faculty, and staff and finds any transphobic comments unacceptable. As healthcare providers, we continue to have a team of experts dedicated to delivering the full continuum of care for gender reassignment patients,” said a university representative in a statement.
A petition demanding a response from both the American College of Surgeons and the Florida Board of Medicine has even surfaced online.
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