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The Story
The Story was produced at North Carolina Public Radio - WUNC and was heard on over 100 stations.Visit The Story web site to listen to this program and for more details, archives, show highlights and more podcasts. UPDATE 1.13.2020: The Story web site has been decommissioned and is in the process of being archived. It may return at a later date.

For Patients With Face And Hand Tattoos, Doctor Offers Free Ink Removal

Per Liljas via

Dr. David Ores, also known as Dr. Dave, is a physician on the Lower East Side of Manhattan who has his own ideas about the health care system. He’s a general practitioner, answers his own phone and does not accept insurance. In fact, he says it’s a scam.

He works for cash only and often for nothing. He offered free care to victims of Hurricane Sandy. One thing he’s known for is free tattoo removal, using a sophisticated laser machine that zaps color off the skin. This program is called Fresh Start and attracts many who have had second thoughts about the tattoos they had inked, and some were tattooed against their will.

"We remove tattoos from women who’ve been involved in human trafficking," Dr. Ores says. "They have tattoos for ownership, they get branded. They are marked, owned as property."

Guest host Sean Cole visits Dr. Ores’ office to speak with him. He also meets Matt, who started covering his body with tattoos when he was 15. He has branded himself with spiritual and runic symbols. He also has skulls on his knuckles, a remembrance, he says, of his enemies.

Recently, Matt has been taking GED classes and is preparing to hunt for a job. He went to see Dr. Dave to remove a tattoo on his throat. “If you have tattoos on your neck, or your forehead or your hands, people like to judge,” Matt says.

Dr. Ores’ tattoo removal machine is broken, leaving him unable to help, and leaving clients like Matt half way through their removal treatments.

Hear the full report at The Story's website. Also in this show: a look at the emerging renaissance of sign painters; and personal trainer Bryant Johnson builds the bodies of the law: Justices Ruth Bader Ginsburg and Elena Kagan.

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