In 2002, one Daryl Strenke was helping his ex-girlfriend’s father with work on a new campground near the Polk County/Barron County line in Wisconsin. His ex-girlfriend, Sam Verby, was in her new trailer nearby. Strenke started yelling at her to come out and talk to him. She invited him into her trailer to talk.

He entered and from ten feet away fired his 12-gauge shotgun at her head, killing her. He then shot himself in the head and severely injured the lower part of his face. Doctors later restored some function and he can eat and speak, but he is disfigured and cannot eat or speak normally.

Strenke was convicted of second-degree intentional homicide and is serving a 30-year prison sentence. The Wisconsin Department of Corrections (DOC) is planning to treat him to a series of cosmetic surgeries to restore a more natural-looking facial appearance. In response to this news, Verby’s father stated:

“… he did it to himself. And being that he murdered my daughter, I have no sympathy for him.”

However, Strenke’s mother has stated: “It doesn’t matter who they are or what crimes they’ve committed. Prisoners are still human beings and still deserve medical care.”

State Representatives Opposing Cosmetic Surgery For Prisoners

Strenke has already been given medical care to restore function. The idea of prisoners being given further surgery for purely cosmetic reasons, at taxpayer expense, especially in this unstable economy, has upset many people, including State Representative Ann Hraychuck, who was the Polk County sheriff at the time of this incident. She stated:

  • “I do understand that institutions are responsible for providing necessary medical treatment …[but]… I can’t imagine the Department of Corrections secretary would OK any kind of surgery that isn’t absolutely necessary.”

Another State Representative, Brett Davis of the 80th District, has written a letter to the Wisconsin DOC requesting data on how much they have spent in the past five years on cosmetic surgery for prisoners. His letter states, in part:

  • “I would ask that you not only consider reversing this [Strenke] decision, but also review the process in which elective surgeries are performed with tax dollars.”

If a convicted murderer has intentionally shot his own face, are taxpayers obliged to pay for his cosmetic surgery? Perhaps the prison staff is pushing this, from discomfort at looking at Strenke’s disfigurement.

Insurance companies do not cover cosmetic surgeries for the exact reason that they are not medically necessary. We pay for our own rhinoplasties, chin implants, and lip surgery, perhaps borrowing for it, or at least budgeting.

At the Cosmetic Surgical Center, we are committed to working with you on financing and we work with MedicalLoan to help you obtain advantageous terms and conditions. If you would like to know more about cosmetic surgery affordability, please call or email our office today for a complimentary consultation with Dr. Rai.