Bloodletting Parties Raise Questions Over Legality of “Arterial Tapping”

300px-4_transfusionJust when you thought this world could not get weirder. The story below describes a new fetish fad where New Yorkers is to cut veins to bleed over canvas or just bleed out among friends. Bloodletting parties involve what is called “arterial tapping,” whereby a dominant partner taps a submissive partner’s artery – the ultimate in bondage where the dominant partner controls actual blood flow. What I found most notable about the story from a legal perspective is the fact that it names the “Santos,” or organizer, of some of these parties as Dr. Edwin Perez, a licensed physician. That leads to an interesting question of whether Perez could be stripped of his license if the allegation is true.


The article discusses an event called The Cirque de Plaisir party which uses various Manhattan lofts in New York and charges $50 admission. The practice seems inherently suspect from a legal perspective as does the involvement of a physician. I have no objection to bondage and consensual acts, even acts that cause pain if it is between consenting adults. However, this involves the cutting of veins or arteries and the involvement of a doctor would reinforce the view that this is a medical practice. Yet, this allegation involves conduct after-hours for these people. It is not clear that the New Jersey Board of Medical Examiners would have jurisdiction. First and foremost, these parties are occurring in New York.

Perez has worked in several Northern New Jersey anesthesiology practices, but there is no indication that he is holding himself out as a doctor in this role (though it is not clear if he is receiving compensation).

The practice itself could be viewed as medical in nature and raise licensing issues. New York law states:

“1. Anyone not authorized to practice under this title who practices or offers to practice or holds himself out as being able to practice in any profession in which a license is a prerequisite to the practice of the acts, or who practices any profession as an exempt person during the time when his professional license is suspended, revoked or annulled, or who aids or abets an unlicensed person to practice a profession, or who fraudulently sells, files, furnishes, obtains, or who attempts fraudulently to sell, file, furnish or obtain any diploma, license, record or permit purporting to authorize the practice of a profession, shall be guilty of a class E felony.”

Moreover, health regulations stipulate that “appropriate masks, gowns or aprons, and protective eyewear” should be used “whenever splashing or spattering of blood or other bodily fluid is likely to occur.”

220px-BloodlettingPhotoThe question could (assuming Perez is the “Santos”) be the nature of the bloodletting — medical or casual. While bloodletting was once common as a medical treatment, it was also performed by midwives and others. Moreover, people are allowed to cut and tattoo and even brand themselves. They are allowed to cause themselves or others pain if done with consent. If a private person can do these acts, it would seem that a doctor could do so as well. However, the risk of infection and serious bodily harm would seem to be present in such “parties.” Health regulations alone would raise serious questions, even putting aside professional codes of conduct.

Source: NBC

18 thoughts on “Bloodletting Parties Raise Questions Over Legality of “Arterial Tapping””

  1. I’m not sure this is any more dangerous than the practice of homosexuality, which the government encourages and grants their moral imprimatur. I expect we will see more parties like these as people are fooled into thinking that whatever adults want to do is fine as long as all parties consent.

  2. I liked working in a profession where my job was to STOP bleeding from cut arteries. I’m just a regular old nurse but I’m pretty sure I am a different species than these weirdos.

  3. Darren

    I don’t have any specific examples but through the haze of my memory I recall circumstances of negligence that caused costly rescues being grounds for the local government seeking payment for the services. If a person is sailing and gets impacted by bad weather the coastal rescue services typically go to the rescue at no cost to the person being rescued. In extreme cases where someone is simply being foolish, I remember instances where the government went after the fools.

    There should be records, especially with the Coast Guard. Google RNLI for an interesting read on ocean rescue.

  4. Isaac,

    My position is that people should not be denied medical care based upon a notion of the health insurer, or worse yet the state, being granted the ability to judge based upon what it considers to be reasonable actions or not by the patient. If it does have that ability it will serve as a growing basis for denial of care.

    If such a system comes into being then there likely will develop a fear of seeking medical attention and being later being denied insurance indemnity. Later, the condition worsens and they face more suffering and cost to all involved.

    That stated, I agree with the notion of contributory negligence in civil cases. However the right to receive medical treatment should not dependent upon approval of the actions by the patient.

    I also might partially disagree with our host on if criminal actions / fines will automatically allow the state to impose rescue charges. There are obvious cases of applicability if that is the path the court chooses where criminal acts result in rescues. But we could see a situation where the government creates pre-text laws of such scope that they can apply to nearly every act a wayward hiker might do so that it can be selectively enforced when a hiker needs rescuing and the gov’t can now mail them a bill.

    Someone above mentioned obtaining a sort of insurance policy for hikers to purchase in the event they might need rescue. I have no issue with that provided it is voluntary and the insurer is not a government agency. I have concerns if it is made to be mandatory. The government can use the insurance mandate to discourage all hiking by imposing high cost minimum insurance requirements that make premiums unaffordable. Another is the ability for politicians to encourage cronyism by working with friends or donors to shoe in specific companies.

  5. Karen S, Squeeky and Justice Holmes

    Excellent points.

    Why JT’s fixation as to whether or not some demented physician is involved? That’s only a sideline here. How about concentrating on the existence of BLOODLETTING PARTIES? That’s the real issue here, isn’t it? This isn’t about the government staying out of our lives. It’s about the government stepping in, as it should, and preventing an extremely dangerous and potentially deadly activity to slide under the guise of some skewed perception of individual liberty. Why does the government take a stand against suicide? Why does the government prosecute individuals who merely supply drugs to another, when those same drugs are the cause of the recipient’s death? The potential risks at these parties, not only to the people engaged in the actual bloodletting, but also to those merely present, are off the chart. In an age of diseases, some deadly, which are carried through contact with blood, what sane society would condone such parties, based upon some very misguided and incredibly flawed sense of individual liberty?

    Not to pick on you, JT, but I just read your comments, on another thread, about the individual who likes to put his graffiti on various objects found in parks. THAT, you declare, as a criminal offense, which should result in the arrest of the culprit. I wholeheartedly agree. I can’t help but wonder why the ability to punish, yes, CRIMINALIZE, that behavior, but the apparent ease in portraying these potentially deadly parties as part of individual liberty? The objects in the park are just that: OBJECTS. These parties involve HUMAN BEINGS, whose very lives are on the line.

  6. This is easy for us libertarians. The govt. needs to stay out unless there is an indication of coercion.

  7. People are so fkn bored.
    This is what happens when the adrenaline addicted got nothin else to do.
    Mix a giddy gathering of theme synched people, add some relatively harmless shock value element to it, and voila, y’all got a party! And better yet a party that everyone else will get overexcited and judgemental about.
    It is silly, and stupid, but if these peeps want to do it, whatever.

  8. Darren

    Should they pay for the medical treatment if it is needed as a result of this latest ‘craze’? The previous post of whether to charge or not, the hiker is different how?

  9. The government needs to stop micromanaging every aspect of life. If these people want to engage in this behavior I don’t see a compelling state interest in going after them.

  10. 1. Doctors have been know to forfeit their licenses for conduct occurring outside their practices.

    2. Because of the risks involved in this practice, I am not sure that consent relives the organizer or the person doing the cutting of responsibility or criminal liabilty for assualt or worse if the subject dies.

    3. Society must make judgments about what one person can do to another. This seems like an appropriate activity in which to exercise that judgment.

  11. Just goes to show you, no matter what the profession, there are weirdos in it. It does seem like this doc is putting his liscense in jeopardy.

  12. Sick. Sick. Sick. There is no intelligent reason to view this as anything but criminal, regardless of “consent.” Some things are “void” as a matter of public policy, and other things are simply illegal. The fact that this isn’t one of those, is an indictment on us. There are some people who are willing and consent to being cannibalized, and others who consent to being a slave. Time for some common sense. My goodness, any kid past the age of consent, could consent to this. This is what comes from the stupidly warm and fuzzy notion that people should be allowed to have org*sms however they wish, as a civil right.

    Squeeky Fromm
    Girl Reporter

  13. Personally, if everyone give written consent, everyone is off the hook. Surgeons require your signature to start surgery because without it, they are committing assault and battery.

  14. We have now attained maximum weirdness. I don’t think any other hedonistic self destructive act out of boredom will ever top this for sheer stupidity.

    Blood borne pathogens!
    Exsanguination!
    Anemia!
    Septicemia!

    If a cut to an artery gets contaminated, it will spread throughout the bloodstream. Idiots.

    Is this an urban legend? This can’t be real.

    Is the fixation of blood because of all the zombie and vampire movies? Because there would have to be a series of events gone wrong for this to sound like fun to me.

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