A controversial transgender surgical expert has had his license suspended following an investigation into a ‘facial feminisation’ operation that left a patient blind in one eye.
Christopher Inglefield, who became known as Snapchat’s surgeon by live-streaming his operations on social media, had his license suspended in the aftermath of the incident.
The Medical Practitioners Tribunals Service (MPTS) found that although the operation was not at fault, it was dishonest in declaring the incident to medical regulators.
Mr Inglefield, founder of the London Transgender Clinic and considered one of the world’s leading surgeons in the field, has been accused in the past of turning his operating room into “a circus” by broadcasting on Snapchat.
Surgeon Christopher Inglefield (pictured), founder of the London Transgender Clinic, has had his license suspended following an investigation into a “facial feminisation” operation that left a patient blind in one eye.
Mr Inglefield, pictured, was known as the ‘Snapchat surgeon’ after broadcasting his operations on the social media platform.
One of the gruesome Snapchat broadcasts made by Mr. Inglefield (pictured) showed the end of an operation he had performed.
He also sparked controversy by backing plans to transplant a uterus to a transgender person who was born a male.
The Rise of ‘Social Media Surgeons’ Streaming Operations on Snapchat
Surgeons are increasingly turning to social media to showcase their skills in the operating room in a macabre trend that has spanned the globe, drawing millions of fans. writes Tom Cotterill.
One of the best known is Florida-based plastic surgeon Dr. Michael Salzhauer, also known as Dr. Miami.
He started live-streaming his trades on Snapchat in 2015 and earned a huge following.
He frequently broadcast Brazilian butt lift procedures.
He was followed in December 2016 by UK teaching surgeon Dr. Shafi Ahmed, who broadcast gruesome images of one of his operations on Snapchat before posting the video on YouTube.
The routine hernia repair procedure was carried out at London Independent Hospital, and Dr Ahmed claimed he pulled the trick to help teach his student.
In 2017, Dr. Eddy Dona, who runs a clinic in Sydney’s Bella Vista, Australia, also jumped on the trend.
Under the Snapchat handle DrEddyDona, the surgeon performed breast augmentations, tummy tucks, rhinoplasty, labiaplasty, and buttock augmentation.
Speaking to MailOnline, he said it was a way of showing people what it was really like to go under the knife.
Later that year, MailOnline went behind the scenes with one of the best known ‘Snapchat surgeons’, New York’s Dr. Matthew Schulman.
But the operating room factory has proven controversial.
In September 2017, plastic surgery officials cracked down on the “circus” of surgeons on Snapchat.
The dramatic rise in the trend, which saw millions tune in to watch, forced the American Society of Plastic Surgeons (ASPS) to publish some general guidelines on the use of social media in clinics.
There is no suggestion that the operation that led to the loss of the patient’s sight was broadcast live, but the MPTS heard that it had led to serious complications.
The facial feminisation operation, carried out to make typically masculine facial features look more feminine, took place on 7 August 2018 at the private hospital on Weymouth Street, near Harley Street.
The patient, identified only as Patient A, subsequently suffered vision problems and was later informed that she had permanently lost sight in her right eye.
At a serious incident review meeting the following November, Mr. Inglefield led investigators to believe that the matter had been reported to the Care Quality Commission when it had not.
His actions to mislead the investigation were found to be “dishonest” and his license to practice has been suspended for 28 days.
The MPTS report states: ‘Patient A underwent facial feminisation surgery performed by Mr Inglefield at the hospital, which is owned and operated by Phoenix Hospital Group.
“No concerns were raised during Patient A’s surgery and she was released later the same day.
“After Patient A was checked and then released, her mother called the practice nurse expressing concern about Patient A’s vision and swelling around her right eye.
‘On August 8, 2018, patient A came to the clinic to be examined by the practice nurse.
“During examination, it was observed that the eye of patient A did not react to light. Mr Inglefield was consulted and it was agreed that Patient A would be treated urgently at Moorfields Eye NHS Trust Hospital.
‘Practice nurse attended with patient A and his mother. Patient A was diagnosed with central retinal artery occlusion and, after initial treatment, vision in Patient A’s right eye did not return.
‘Patient A has subsequently been informed that the loss of vision in her right eye is permanent.
It was this complication after surgery, Patient A’s permanent loss of vision, that was identified as the “serious adverse event” (“SUI”) or serious clinical incident that is relevant to the prosecution in this case.
“It is not alleged in this case that Mr. Inglefield’s practice with respect to Patient A’s surgery was deficient.”
Later, in a meeting with hospital operators, Inglefield said the CQC had been informed.
He later agreed that he should not have misled them about contacting the regulator.
The court concluded: ‘Mr Inglefield accepted the Court’s conclusions in their entirety and told the Court that he understood its conclusion, that is, that he had acted dishonestly at the meeting on November 16, 2018.
Mr. Inglefield had been considered one of the world’s leading surgeons in the field of transgender operations, but had in the past been accused of turning his operating room into “a circus” by broadcasting on Snapchat. He is photographed during one of the broadcasts.
‘It recognized that concerns about a doctor’s honesty and integrity can have a significant impact on colleagues, hospitals and patients.
‘Mr Inglefield told the Tribunal that he had had four years to consider the November 16, 2018 meeting and had reflected on it.
He said he was under “duress” in that meeting and it became a very stressful situation.
“Mr Inglefield agreed that he should have said at the meeting that the Legal Notice form had not been completed and sent to the CQC and that this omission would be addressed as a matter of priority.”
The panel decided that withdrawing his license to practice entirely would be disproportionate, but suspended it for one month.
Mr Inglefield’s Snapchat operations at London Bridge Plastic Surgery (LBPS) clinic surprised some doctors.
His livestreamed surgeries would start with messages like ‘Good morning LBPS fam. Let’s start the day.
He defended his actions, saying: “Images of procedures at London Transgender Surgery can be very difficult to watch. Especially for someone who isn’t used to looking at pictures of surgeries.
Mr Inglefield, pictured, sparked controversy by backing plans to transplant a womb to a transgender person who was born a boy.
“We need to look beyond the glossy ads and glowing testimonials to show the precise details of what’s going on in an open and transparent way.”
He is also an exponent of uterine transplants, stating that the contentious procedure is “essentially identical” to that of “cis women”, women born into that gender.
Earlier this year, Mr Inglefield said: “This pioneering birth is extremely important for any trans woman who wishes to have her own child.”
“Because once the medical community accepts this as a treatment for cis women with uterine infertility, such as congenital absence of the womb, then it would be illegal to deny treatment to a trans woman who has completed her transition.
“There are clearly anatomical limits when it comes to trans women, but these are issues that I believe can be overcome and transplanting a trans woman is essentially identical to transplanting a cis woman.”