It almost sounds like the bizarre antics of a Carl Hiassen novel.
But this Beverly Hills, California plastic surgeon is the subject of several lawsuits by former patients who weren’t happy with their liposuction.
Never mind that their removed fat was turned into biodiesel that fueled the doctor’s Ford SUV and his girlfriend’s Lincoln Navigator.
Dr. Craig Alan Bittner, a Beverly Hills doctor admits he used the fat, removed during liposuction, and extracted the triglycerides that can be turned into diesel.
Dr. Bittner had a Website lipodiesel.com, which has since been taken down.
On it, Forbes reports that he wrote, "The vast majority of my patients request that I use their fat for fuel--and I have more fat than I can use. Not only do they get to lose their love handles or chubby belly but they get to take part in saving the Earth."
The unusual activities came to light after recent lawsuits were filed by former patients.
Attorney Andrew Besser represents three patients who claim the doctor’s assistant and girlfriend removed too much fat, leaving them disfigured. There have reportedly been dozens of complaint to the state medical board.
On his business Web site, Dr. Bittner announces he will close Beverly Hills Liposculpture office on December 23, and that his practice is being taken over by another physician.
It’s not known how long Dr. Bittner created lipo-fuel, but he claims to have carried out more than 7,000 such operations.
He says, “After ten years in practice, I have treated over 40,000 patients, including almost 7,000 liposculpture patients. I am proud to be able to tell you that the record of my liposculpture practice has been impeccable; not one single serious complication or infection.”
In the U.S., it is illegal to use human medical waste to power vehicles.
He says he began his medical career volunteering in a rural clinic outside of Bogata, Columbia. Now, he says on his web site, he is returning to South America to volunteer with a small clinic.
“Liposculpture is truly my passion and I have been extremely fortunate, however after ten years of private practice I am going back to South America to volunteer with a small clinic that is very similar to where my medical career began decades ago, where I can help those most in need.”
Bio-diesel is commonly made from vegetable oils, although increasingly animal sources are being explored.
Tyson, the chicken company, is also looking into powering vehicles with unwanted chicken fat.
And a startup, Nova Biosource, is mixing beef tallow and pig lard to use as fuel.
A gallon of the biodiesel gets you about a gallon of fuel, reports Forbes.
One additional step is needed to get rid of free fatty acids present from animal sources not vegetable oils. #