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Plastic surgery clinic under probe over staff selfies

By Agence France-Presse in Seoul | China Daily | Updated: 2014-12-30 07:44

Health authorities in the Republic of Korea said on Monday they are investigating a plastic surgery clinic in Seoul after photographs emerged online showing medical staff partying in an operating theater.

In one selfie, posted on photo-sharing app Instagram, staff in scrubs stand around a candlelit birthday cake - with an apparently unconscious patient lying on a bed behind them.

Another picture showed a staff member, wearing a mask and surgery gown, placing a gel breast implant over her chest in an operating room. Another showed staff posing while eating hamburgers.

"Our officials are investigating the clinic to see if there was any violation of medical laws," said a spokeswoman from a public health department in Seoul's Gangnam district.

"They may look into whether such behavior damaged the reputation of medical practitioners," she said.

Under the country's medical law, behavior deemed to tarnish the reputation of the industry can result in suspension.

The images, posted by one staff member, drew a storm of online criticism for alleged disregard of sanitation rules and patient safety. They were taken down later.

The clinic apologized on Monday for "careless actions" by some of its staff members, who it confirmed were doctors or assistants there.

"We are left devastated for causing such concerns among our clients ... because of the senseless behavior," Jewelry Plastic Surgery Centre said on its website.

"We offer our deep apology ... and will conduct thorough safety training for all our staff members."

The upmarket district in southern Seoul - made famous by ROK singer Psy's global hit Gangnam Style - is home to high-end stores as well as hundreds of plastic surgery clinics.

The look-obsessed ROK is famed for its vast plastic surgery industry, with one of the highest per capita rates of plastic surgery procedures in the world.

(China Daily 12/30/2014 page11)

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