Probe into cosmetic surgeon who 'powered his 4x4 with his patients' excess flab'
By Paul Thompson
If you're keen to establish your green credentials you can install solar panels or stick a wind turbine on your roof.
Or you could become a patient of Dr Alan Bittner.
The leading Beverly Hills cosmetic surgeon claims to be saving the planet by using fat removed from clients in liposuction operations to power his 4x4 car.
Dr Alan Bittner
Dr Alan Bittner says he turned fat sucked out of patients in liposuction operations into biodiesel - or 'lipodiesel' - for his 4x4 vehicle
According to Dr Bittner, his patients are more than happy to be involved in the extraordinary eco-friendly scheme.
'The vast majority of my patients request that I use their fat for fuel - and I have more fat than I can use,' he declared.
'Not only do they get to lose their love handles or chubby belly, but they get to take part in saving the Earth.' U.S. authorities are less impressed and have launched an inquiry into his claims that he is converting the waste fat into bio-diesel - or 'lipodiesel' as he calls it.
Dr Bittner posted his claims on a website lipodiesel.com, which has since been taken down following the sudden closure of his clinic on Rodeo Drive.
He is believed to have moved to South America after several patients filed a lawsuit against his practice for allegedly allowing his unlicensed girlfriend to carry out operations. U.S. business magazine Forbes reported that Dr Bittner used the 'lipofuel' to power both his Ford Explorer and his girlfriend's Lincoln Navigator.
Bio-diesel is commonly made from vegetable oils, although half of the U.S. supply comes from beef or pig products.
Animal and vegetable fat contains triglycerides that can be extracted and turned into diesel.
U.S. authorities have launched an inquiry into Dr Bittner's claims he used human body fat to power his car
It is not known how Dr Bittner went about turning the fat sucked out of patients into fuel. But he claims to have carried out more than 7,000 lipo operations - and according to Forbes, a gallon of fat will produce about a gallon of fuel, and drivers can get about the same amount of mileage from fat fuel as they do from regular diesel.
However, it is illegal in the U.S. to use human medical waste to power vehicles.
The doctor is being investigated by California's public health department. Dr Bittner's lawyer didn't return calls seeking comment.
The magazine said his activities came to light after recent lawsuits filed by patients that allege he allowed his assistant and his girlfriend to perform surgery when neither held a medical licence.
Lawyer Andrew Besser, who represents three patients, claims the assistant and girlfriend removed too much fat from clients and left them disfigured. Dozens of other patients have complained to the state medical board, according to Mr Besser. On his official clinic website Dr Bittner claims he offers patients a more advanced form of liposuction called liposculpture.
The website says: 'After years of experience with various cosmetic procedures, Dr Bittner founded Beverly Hills Liposculpture and personally trained his team of specialists to focus solely on liposculpture - a far more advanced form of liposuction.
'By focusing on liposculpture, Dr Bittner has developed a unique minimally invasive technique that allows patients to remain awake and comfortable while his team sculpts and contours their body.'
A small notice on the website reveals that Dr Bittner has gone to Bogota, Colombia.
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.
'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.'