Creepy 'Love Surgery' Performed on New Moms' Unwitting Vaginas

Illustration for article titled Creepy 'Love Surgery' Performed on New Moms' Unwitting Vaginas

Dr. James C. Burt was a simple gynecologist with a simple goal: to make life better for the boners of husbands of women who just had their love-holes ruined by childbirth. And so, for more than 20 years starting in the mid-1960's, Dr. Burt would perform vagina-tightening surgery on his new mom patients without their consent. He called it "Love Surgery."


Burt's "Love Surgery" was based on the doctor's cockamamie idea that women are "structurally inadequate for intercourse" and that the only way to fix their "pathological condition" was through surgery that made the vagina and vulva more penis friendly. He also believed that Love Surgery would turn women into "horny little mice." In his 1975 book, entitled "Surgery of Love," Burt admitted that many of the women who first received the surgery were simply told after childbirth that they'd received episiotomies. Burt's book says that "hundreds and hundreds" of women were treated this way, but other sources estimate that the number is actually in the thousands. One woman who was treated by Burt recalls the doctor telling her, oddly, that he'd "fixed her up" and that soon she'd be "just like a virgin" again.

While Burt started performing the surgery on women who didn't know about or consent to the procedure, starting in the mid-1970's, he began promoting it as a sexual enhancement surgery and enticed women to voluntarily subject themselves to Burt's invention, and his idea that "'the difference between rape and rapture is salesmanship."

I'm sure you know where this is headed. In his tireless efforts to make women more fuckable, he actually ended up causing his patients serious, irreversible damage. From a Times article that ran in 1988, near the end of Burt's career,

The surgery often included removing the hood of a patient's clitoris, repositioning the vagina, moving the urethra, and altering the walls between the rectum and vagina. It was intended, the doctor wrote, to redesign the vagina to increase sexual responsiveness.

Instead, the surgery caused sexual dysfunction, extensive scarring, chronic infections of the kidney, bladder and vagina and the need for corrective surgery in many patients, according to the Ohio medical board.

Perhaps the worst part of this story, changing public perception of which is detailed in a new study to be published in the journal Archives of Sexual Behavior, is how other doctors and medical professionals knew what Dr. Burt was up to, but did nothing. St. Elizabeth Hospital in Dayton, Ohio, where Dr. Burt practiced, didn't require medical consent forms for the procedure for the first 12 years it was being performed. And doctors with former Burt patients could always tell who the Love Surgeon had worked on.

'Doctors would say, 'Dr. Burt's done surgery on you, hasn't he?' '' said Joy Martin, on whom he performed his surgery after delivering her son in 1974. She recently had corrective surgery. Mrs. Phillips and Mrs. Sexton have filed lawsuits, seeking $6 million, against Dr. Burt and St. Elizabeth's Hospital, where he performed most of his surgeries. Thirty-five other former patients are expected to sue in the next few weeks, said Lee Sambol, the lawyer for the women. Ten malpractice suits against Dr. Burt over the past 12 years were dropped after other physicians refused to testify.

''We've all had Dr. Burt's patients, and we've tried to undo the work he has done,'' said Dr. Robert Hilty, a gynecologist who was chairman of the Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology at Kettering Medical Center in Dayton for 18 years. ''But we need the freedom to openly criticize without fear of legal retribution.''


During the late 1980's, ex-patients of Dr. Burt's began to come forward with complaints that Burt had left them disabled or sexually dysfunctional, but the doctor was defiant, insisting that his 25-years-younger-than-him fourth wife had the procedure and, in his defense, wrote that she "has climaxed in elevators from the Southampton Princess in Bermuda to the Kuilima in Hawaii, more than many women do in their entire lives."

In 1989, Dr. Burt voluntarily surrendered his medical license after $21 million worth of lawsuits were filed against him. The subsequent financial hardship he faced from years of maiming sex organs eventually led to his super-orgasming wife divorcing him. Burt eventually declared bankruptcy.


[Pub Med]



Well-written, and informative- but... why? This is hardly timely; each year, exposes are written about this surgery and this doctor. Why now?