Women sue Kirkwood plastic surgeon after naked photos with names surface online

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KMOV.com

Posted on September 29, 2011 at 9:24 PM

Updated Friday, Sep 30 at 11:20 PM

ST. LOUIS (KMOV) – Several local women are suing a Kirkwood, Missouri plastic surgeon after their naked photos surfaced on the Internet. The women say their surgeon did not protect their identities; the doctors say it was a mistake.

Most patients who see a plastic surgeon sign a release that allows any pictures taken to be used in places like medical journals and scientific presentations, but it also allows those pictures to be used on websites.

In this case, it’s alleged that seven pictures of women posted on the doctor’s website also had the names on them, and they quickly fanned out across the Internet.

Attorney Neil Bruntrager says Dr. Michele Koo posted private medical 'before and after' photos of her patients on her own website, showcasing her skill in breast augmentation, but Bruntrager says those photos were also still coded with the patients’ names, and were revealed when a cursor passed over them.

Those photos now just have a number.

But the names and photos were connected on search engines like Google, and soon friends and coworkers had access to them.

An email from Dr. Koo’s Kirkwood office says that while the patients did give written permission, Koo is also very sorry this Internet problem occurred.

Bruntrager says as many as 30 women may have been victimized, but so far only seven are taking Dr. Koo to court. Still, online advertising among plastic surgeons is quite common, and patients need to be aware of what they consent to during visits.

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