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AUTOBIOGRAPHY | DR PATRICK TREACY
One of aesthetic medicines
most notable characters,
Dr Patrick Treacy shares some
of his...
attended the
Royal College
of Surgeons.
Unfortunately this
was at the time of
Margaret Thatcher’s
administration, which
al...
The celebrity
patient
turned friend
It was during
the early
hours of one
morning in
2006, where
Dr Treacy was
to meet a my...
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The Irishman Behind the Mask

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One of aesthetic medicines most notable characters,
Dr Patrick Treacy shares some of his favourite anecdotes
from his extraordinary memoir and reveals why he finally
decided to lift the mask.

Publié dans : Santé & Médecine
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The Irishman Behind the Mask

  1. 1. AUTOBIOGRAPHY | DR PATRICK TREACY One of aesthetic medicines most notable characters, Dr Patrick Treacy shares some of his favourite anecdotes from his extraordinary memoir – and reveals why he finally decided to lift the mask. The Irishman Behind the Mask I t’s been said that adversity creates opportunity – and it was during one of these periods in his life that one of the best-known aesthetic practitioners in the world sat down to write a memoir about his life and his work. Dr Patrick Treacy’s autobiography, Behind The Mask – The Extraordinary Story of the Irishman who Became Michael Jackson’s Doctor, is so much more than a glimpse into the lives of the rich and famous and their relentless pursuit of physical perfection. In fact, even the chapters that deal with Dr Treacy’s unique relationship with the King of Pop are but a fraction of the whole story. Triumph over adversity Written during the time of one of the world’s most devastating economic downturns, Dr Treacy describes Behind The Mask as a recession book. “It was at a stage in my life where my lifestyle changed, from one where I was going out every night, to spending more time at home.” Finding himself alone with his thoughts for the first time in a long while, the writing of his memoir created an opportunity to come to terms with the loss of love, the loss of his parents, the reconciliation of regrets and a reflection on some of life’s most epic adventures. 31AESTHETIC & ANTI-AGEING | ISSUE 21
  2. 2. attended the Royal College of Surgeons. Unfortunately this was at the time of Margaret Thatcher’s administration, which almost put an end to his studies with a sudden cut to his grant. Yet never one to back down, the budding doctor soon found another lucrative (albeit dubious) way to raise funds – the smuggling of high-end German vehicles to Turkey. For the love of medicine Dr Treacy believes that his passion for cosmetic medicine may have been born on a late summer evening in 1983 in Kiato, a small coastal town of the Greek northern Peloponese. As a medical student, he was supporting the local doctor who was assisting patients with splints and sutures following an earthquake. “During the evening, I had to sew a young girl’s beautiful face that had been torn apart with two great lacerations – which ran all the way from the corner of her mouth and nose to the bottom of her chin,” he says. “I placed over one hundred sutures in her face. After I had finished, her mother broke into tears, and cried a hundred thank-you’s.” Dr Treacy reflects that it was at this moment, somewhere amid all that chaos, where he found his destiny. “I wanted to return to medical school in the autumn of that year and try apply my talents into restoration of facial features with plastic surgery, or by helping people retain their youthful features for as long as possible.” After years of dedication, Dr Treacy finally had his medical degree, but a cruel twist of fate would eventually lead him down the path of philanthropy. While working in a hospital in Dublin, a needle he had used to draw blood from a heroin- addicted patient with HIV jabbed him in the leg. Now this was in 1987, where HIV/Aids was shrouded in fear and mystery, and ignorance made people believe it was an instant death sentence. Forced to go for one blood test after another, Dr Treacy finally had a colleague surgically remove a significant lump from his leg to prevent the risk of infection. Although he never contracted the disease, the rejection and fear he felt from fellow colleagues left a bitter taste. He therefore decided to set off to New Zealand soon after, for what would be a long series of international posts. Philanthropy at work From a respiratory and cardiology registrar in New Zealand, Dr Treacy joined the Royal Flying Doctor Service, which took him to Australia and East Africa. This was followed by a stint as a ship’s surgeon with Carnival Cruise line. And then, while living with the Marsh Arabs in Saddam Hussein’s Iraq, he tried to submit an article to the Fermanagh Herald, for which he was arrested by the Iraqi army. He was detained for five days, where upon his release, he flew to Copenhagen, then to Dublin, and finally to the West. “Perhaps one of the most frustrating feelings you have when you work in these parts of the world is that you have all the knowledge to help the patients, but none of the resources you so desperately need to do so,” Dr Treacy says. Local love During the early 1990s, Dr Treacy also developed a love affair with South Africa. Waiting for the release of Nelson Mandela, he finally set foot on local soil in 1992 and, over the course of his life, he has lived in and visited the country repeatedly. Never one to shy from controversy, Dr Treacy ripped into the local Department of Health during a speech at a local conference in 2011, where he berated government for the absurd opinions that HIV/Aids could be properly managed by diet – specifically potatoes and garlic. But as early as 1998, the doctor had already predicted the rising HIV epidemic would not be controlled by the flawed government policies of that period. Like many of us locals, Dr Treacy has a deep love for South Africa, combined with exasperation for the seemingly endless trail of challenges it faces. It was this frustration that prompted him to highlight his concerns in award winning articles in the western press and Irish medical journals. In fact, these 32 A2 AESTHETIC & ANTI-AGEING MAGAZINE | ISSUE 21 A2Magazine @A2_Magazine @A2Magazine www.a2magazine.co.za AUTOBIOGRAPHY | DR PATRICK TREACY “I wanted to try apply my talents into restoration of facial features with plastic surgery, or by helping people retain their youthful features for as long as possible.” Coming of age Born in the 1950s, in the tiny rural village of Garrison in County Fermanagh, Northern Ireland, Treacy’s parents ran a shop, garage and filling station. The young Patrick had his heart set on a career in medicine, but found himself growing up in a time when Northern Ireland was gripped by ethno-nationalist conflict (known as The Troubles), which raged through Northern Ireland from the 1960s to late 1990s. While studying at Queens University in Belfast, Patrick was caught up in some of the conflict himself, which resulted in a heavy beating and a broken leg. This incident culminated in him transferring to the far more cosmopolitan Dublin (at his mother’s insistence), where he
  3. 3. The celebrity patient turned friend It was during the early hours of one morning in 2006, where Dr Treacy was to meet a mystery patient at his clinic in Ireland. Apparently, it’s not unusual for famous faces to request unusual consulting times to avoid unwanted media attention. “So, imagine my bemusement when one of the most famous faces in the world said: ‘Hello, I’m Michael Jackson. I’ve heard a lot about your work and I would like to become your patient’. He also added a ‘thank-you’ for the work you do for the people of Africa.” Dr Treacy goes on to document the bond between doctor and patient that eventually led to an unlikely friendship, with Dr Treacy even visiting with Jackson and his children at their family home in Ireland on a regular basis. While Dr Treacy has doggedly refused to discuss the treatments the pop icon requested, he is open about the fact that Jackson did suffer from some form of body dysmorphia. He has also been open about the devastating impact that vitiligo, a pigmentation skin condition, had on Jackson’s life – not to mention the numerous scars that covered his body. It was also Jackson himself that facilitated a conversation between Nelson Mandela and Dr Treacy, as both men were determined to bring an HIV/Aids concert to Rwanda. Dr Treacy has always remained a loyal supporter of Jackson, and one of the biggest defenders of his character. Despite the King of Pop’s foibles and eccentricities, Dr Treacy believes that Jackson was an exceptionally good man, and remains one of his staunchest ambassadors. An extraordinary life Having travelled to more than 80 countries before he had even touched the age of 23, Dr Treacy has a knack for being at the right or wrong place at the right time: from the fall of the Berlin Wall, to helping with disaster relief programmes following 9/11 and the earthquake that ravaged Haiti. His life is also filled with an endless stream of famous and loveable faces – Nelson Mandela, Mother Theresa, Bono, John Lennon and even Lady Diana Spencer. Of the rich and famous, Dr Treacy shares with good humour some of their most bizarre eccentricities, like their refusal to pay their bills, or the fact that many suffer from various forms of kleptomania, lining bags and pockets with expensive lotions and potions from the clinic. It’s a long way from his humble origins in Garrison, County Fermanagh, but Behind The Mask is a tour de force around the globe, filled with suspense, sadness, love and adventure. AUTOBIOGRAPHY | DR PATRICK TREACY are the very articles that caught the attention of Michael Jackson, and what made the legend of pop music seek out Dr Treacy in his hometown. Altering the field of aesthetic medicine When he returned to Ireland, Dr Treacy set up the Ailesbury Clinic, where he worked at the cutting edge of cosmetic dermatology. Being a notable advocate of treatments such as botulinum toxin, he is an outspoken critic of the lack of regulation in the field. Dr Treacy is also considered one of the most influential aesthetic practitioners in the world, having forever altered the field of aesthetic medicine. He has additionally pioneered techniques and protocols relating to dermal filler complications, wound healing, facial endoprostheses for HIV facial lipodystrophy patients, and radio- surgery venous thermocoagulation. Among his globally recognised awards (and as one of the most sought- after speakers globally), he is still the driving force behind countless humanitarian efforts that impact the lives of children in developing nations. Dr Treacy is considered one of the most influential aesthetic practitioners in the world, having forever altered the field of aesthetic medicine 34 A2 AESTHETIC & ANTI-AGEING MAGAZINE | ISSUE 21 A2Magazine @A2_Magazine @A2Magazine www.a2magazine.co.za 1 Dr Patrick Treacy with Bono at the UN Humanitarian Awards 2 A shared African passion: it was Michael Jackson himself that facilitated a conversation between Nelson Mandela and Dr Treacy, as both men were determined to bring an HIV/Aids concert to Rwanda 3 Local love: like many of us South Africans, Dr Treacy has a deep love for the country, combined with exasperation for the seemingly endless trail of challenges it faces 4 Accepting an AMEC Award in Paris in 2016 5 Dr Treacy with Bishop Dorcillien 1 3 2 4 5 35AESTHETIC & ANTI-AGEING | ISSUE 21

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