Secretary accused of practicing medicine

SARASOTA, Fla. -  

Christine Patterson appeared angry in a Sarasota courtroom Friday as she made a first appearance on charges of practicing medicine without a license. "I think it's pretty ugly stuff," said her attorney, Brett McIntosh. 
 
Patterson is the Office Manager at her brother's practice, Sarasota Surgical Arts.
 
Sarasota deputies said in April of 2011, a woman came in after a face-lift.  Patterson diagnosed the woman with a hematoma.  Deputies said Patterson then inserted a drain behind the victim's right ear. No pain medication was administered and the victim was in excruciating pain, according to probable cause affidavit documents.
 
"She diagnosed and treated a person who needed medical services, and she has no medical qualifications," said Wendy Rose with the Sarasota County Sheriff's Office. 
 
"There was a procedure performed, but she did not perform it.  She doesn't perform procedures like that," said McIntosh.  He said Patterson's brother, Dr.  Alberico J. Sessa, performed the procedure. 
 
The Sarasota County Health Department reports no previous complaints on the Sarasota Surgical Arts office.  Dr. Sessa declined to comment.  
 
Rose said the Sheriff's Office has built a strong case.  "Two witnesses acknowledge she did put a drain in this woman's face to control the swelling.  We even have a witness who was working that day.  She asked her, 'Are you sure you should provide a service?'"  Arrest affidavit reports state Patterson responded she had "seen it done plenty of times."   
 
Deputies would not be specific, but said the victim has had to see additional doctors and have additional treatment since the incident with Patterson. 
 
Patterson has no previous arrests on record.  She has bonded out of the Sarasota County jail.
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