The Naked Nurse Ads

(Taipei Times)  Tainan not amused by naked nurse ads for plastic surgery,  February 8, 2009.

Tainan City Government will close down a cosmetic surgery clinic for using posters of its nurses posing naked in a campaign the clinic said only sought to find them boyfriends, media reported yesterday.  The city・s health department is to close down the clinic after an outcry from several nurses・ associations, which said the photographs had damaged the reputation of their profession, media said.

Eyebrows were raised when the clinic put up posters featuring three young nurses with the caption: :I decide my curves, you can be the focus too.;  The clinic distributed the pictures to media and customers and used them on its Web site.  :Of course we・re going to prosecute. What they did violates the law,; a Tainan City Health Department official said.  Although businesses often use young women for models in ads or pay for models to present products at promotional events, they are seldom shown naked.

An official said the clinics were not the same as normal businesses and the adverts fell foul of medical conduct rules.  But an official at the clinic defended the move, saying the photos were tasteful and were only meant to help the nurses find boyfriends, media reports said.  Despite this defense, the clinic could be fined up to NT$250,000 for illegally advertising its services, local media reported.

(Apple Daily)

Original billboard

Covered-up billboard

Newspaper report drew the attention of the Tainan City Department of Health

Two nurses and one cosmetician from the Dr. Enherya Clinic posed completely nude to seek marriage partners and this triggered full criticisms from the National Nurses Association and the Tainan City Nurses Union: "The image of nurses have been ruined by the advertisements."   The Tainan City Department of Health asked the police to investigate, and there is so far no evidence that this was a public morals case nor was there any suggestion that this was a fraudulent scheme.  But the Department of Health is going to order the clinic to stop operations and clean up its illegal advertising (in accordance with the laws related to medical services).

The nurse Mia was very upset yesterday: "Cease operations!  How can this be?"  Her father's factory had gone out of business and she is presently staying with relatives.  The other two nurses are subjected to a great deal of pressure and did not show up for work.

The newspapers <Apple Daily>, <Chunghwa Daily> and others reported the name of the clinic in the story.  Therefore, they have been asked to explain the news gathering process to the Department of Health, which will decide whether the newspapers have also violated the laws.  <Apple Daily> responds: "This is preposterous!"  On that day, the Dr. Enherya Clinic held a press conference to which the newspapers sent reporters to cover.  The publication of the story depended on whether there was any news value.  The report actually questioned the advertising based upon the nurses seeking marriage.  Furthermore, <Apple Daily> did not derive any gains from the story.  Thus, the Department of Health is overreaching its authority.

(NOWnews)  According to article 86 of the Law on Medical Services, the following methods are banned in advertising:

1. Using the names of other persons to advertise
2. Selling or giving away medical publications to advertise
3. Using the disclosure and sharing of ancient medicinal secrets or public Q&A to advertise
4. Citing the content of medical journals to advertise
5. Using interviews and news reports to advertise
6. Using the aforementioned methods in conjuction/combination with other advertisements
7. Using other improper methods to advertise

Article 87 of the Law on Medical Services stipulates: "Whenever the contents of the advertisement implies or hints at persons in the medical care field, it is considered to be an advertisement for medical services.  But the publication of new medical discoveries, or medical research reports, or pamphlets concerning patient health education, or academic journals are not considered advertisements if they are not drumming up business for medical services."

According to the Tainan Department of Health, the Law supposedly bans improper methods of soliciting patients.  The four females in the clinic's billboard ad were fully nude (even though they don't show the nipples) and therefore this is clearly breaking the law.

Frankly, this is somewhat risible.  This clinic is a medical clinic that is more like a "cosmetic services" clinic.  Therefore, it is normal to show the results of cosmetic services.  Is the so-called "improper method" really "showing nude bodies" or "a fake ad suggesting marriage"?  The law enforcement authorities should be clearer about this.

Compared to this naked nurses affair this time, we can regularly see celebrities go on television to talk about cosmetics-related medical services, we can view all sorts of product placement television ads for medical services and we can see medical services workers appearing on television talk shows to talk about their businesses.  Thus, the so-called regulations in the Law on Medical Services are sometimes tightly and other times loosely enforced.  This makes it hard for people to know what the boundaries are.  In truth, the image of nurses is really damaged by the fact that these three nude nurses seem to be totally ignorant of the Law on Medical Services.