MIAMI — A University of Miami Health System doctor has been fired after sharing on his personal Instagram account graphic photos of patients, including pictures of genitalia of patients who were having gender reassignment surgery, and a petition has been launched by transgender advocates asking the American College of Surgeons to intervene.
Dr. Christopher John Salgado, section chief of UHealth’s LGBTQ Center for Wellness, Gender and Sexual Health, posted the photos as recently as Valentine’s Day, when he shared a photo of the removed penis of a transgender patient and shaped it into a heart, with the comment, “There are many ways to show your LOVE.”
Salgado, 50, could not be reached by phone Wednesday. Lisa Worley, a spokeswoman for UHealth, issued a written statement that, “Dr. Christopher Salgado is no longer employed by the university.”
“The University of Miami is committed to promoting and supporting diversity in its students, faculty and staff and finds any transphobic comments unacceptable,” Worley’s statement read.
Salgado’s Instagram account, @sexsurgeon, has been removed from the social media site, but not before it was shared widely among transgender advocates, reported on in TransAdvocate, a news site dedicated to transgender issues, and archived by users of the online forum Reddit.com.
Archived photos of the @sexsurgeon Instagram account include a headshot of Salgado and numerous photos of patients, including graphic pictures of male and female genitalia in various stages of surgery.
In one photo posted by @sexsurgeon on Jan. 24, a surgeon in scrubs poses with an adult toy apparently removed from a patient’s rectum, according to the comments accompanying the post. The patient’s legs appear to be in a gurney behind the doctor, whose face is blotted out in the photo.
The photo strongly suggests that someone other than the doctor took the photo in the operating room, though no other people are visible in the photograph.
It’s not clear who started the online petition addressed to the American College of Surgeons. But the petition asks the organization to immediately address Salgado’s violation of patient privacy and his questionable medical ethics, particularly as it applies to a vulnerable population such as transgender individuals.
“Transgender patients are an incredibly vulnerable population as it relates to seeking medical care,” the petition notes. “We experience violence, neglect, misgendering, sexual assault and more. To see a surgeon who claims to specialize in treating transgender patients using racist, homophobic, and transphobic hashtags … is beyond unacceptable.”
Among the hashtags on the @sexsurgeon account were #bichogrande — Spanish slang for large penis — and #analfun.
Salgado’s name was removed removed from the UHealth website for gender affirmation surgery, according to an archived image of the website, which listed him as a plastic and reconstructive surgeon.
His unexpected removal from the UHealth program appears to have displaced some patients who had scheduled surgeries with Salgado. A self-published blog post linked to the Instagram account of a Johns Hopkins reconstructive surgeon has advised displaced patients of UHealth to contact the Johns Hopkins Center for Transgender Health. The blog post advises patients to mention that they are a “recent patient of Dr. Salgado at University of Miami.”
However, the UHealth statement noted that, “we continue to have a team of experts dedicated to delivering the full continuum of care for gender reassignment patients.”
Salgado has a clear and active medical license, according to the Florida Department of Health’s online profile for physicians and he has never been disciplined.
Brad Dalton, a health department spokesman, said the agency does not disclose complaints against physicians unless the agency finds probable cause to take disciplinary action.
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