Controversy over selfie taken with severed heads

NEW HAVEN/HARTFORD, Conn. (WTNH)–A selfie taken with some severed cadaver heads in a graduate dental program at Yale University has gotten a professor into hot water.

News 8 spoke to the doctor and his wife on Wednesday, and they were clear, he did not take the photo, which ended up on social media. He says he was looking up from the table as the photo was snapped.

“The purpose of that kind of material is for medical research, and so part of me feels like it is in poor taste,” said Kwame Davenport.

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The selfie surfaced more than six months after it was taken at the Yale Medical School. It shows Dr. Flavio Uribe, Head of the UConn orthodontic program, looking at the camera while he was teaching dental screw placement. He did not take the photo, but Yale says that is no excuse. In a statement released by Karen Peart, Yale spokeswoman, she says the doctor should’ve known better.

“The photograph taken at a symposium at Yale was disturbing and an inexcusable deviation from anything Yale would expect to occur,” Peart said. “There is clear signage forbidding photography at each door to the laboratory.”

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“Just from a compliance standpoint and following the rules, I mean I just think you have to be cautious, because with social media out there, things get ramped up. And they go bad quick,” Davenport said.

UConn has since taken steps to make sure this will not happen again. No cell phones or cameras are allowed in the rooms, and Yale has students sign a ethical standard of conduct agreement. But with social media, one photo is one too many.

“The bad part is you can do a lifetime of good work, and then one mistake, can ruin your career. And alter the perceptions of who you are and the work you actually do,” Davenport said.

The doctor is respected and has a good reputation in the dental community.

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