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June 26, 2013


Photo: Person with tattoo on face
Per Liljas via narrative.ly

A Fresh Start

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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 on a sliding scale, averaging around $100 per visit. He offered free care to victims of Hurricane Sandy. One thing he’s known for is removing face and hand tattoos for free, using a sophisticated laser machine that zaps color off the skin. This program is called Fresh Start and attracts former inmates and gang members who can't get jobs because of their tattoos, and some who 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, "for my enemies," he says.

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.

Read more about Dr. Ores and see photos, including some of Dr. Ores' own tattoos, in this article on Narrative.ly.


"Build a House and Burn it Down" by the Horse Flies; "Centipede" by Ticonderoga

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