Sarasota Woman Caused "Excruciating" Pain With Unlicensed Procedure To Drain Patient's Swollen Face: Authorities

Christine Patterson, 44, faces a charge of practicing medicine without a license: Sarasota County Sheriff's Office

Thursday, Apr 25, 2013  |  Updated 10:58 PM EDT
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Sarasota County Sheriff's Office

Christine Patterson, 44

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A Sarasota woman was arrested after she caused “excruciating” pain for a patient when she performed an unlicensed surgical procedure on her face, authorities said.

Christine Patterson, 44, faces a charge of practicing medicine without a license, the Sarasota County Sheriff’s Office said Thursday.

On April 13, 2011, the victim received a mini-facelift from Dr. Alberico Sessa at Sarasota Surgical Arts, the sheriff’s office said in a probable cause affidavit.

Sessa was not in the office the next day, when Patterson – his sister, office manager and medical biller – examined the woman when she came in for her post-operation check. Patterson unwrapped the woman’s bandages, looked at her face, and wrapped her back up, the affidavit said.

But on the following day, April 15, the victim awoke with massive swelling on her face, the affidavit said. She returned to Sarasota Surgical Arts. Two employees later described her face as “swollen like a pumpkin,” the affidavit said.

Patterson contacted Sessa, who was out of town, and decided to insert a drain to remove excess fluid, causing the woman excruciating pain, the sheriff’s office said.

Patterson inserted the drain behind the woman’s right ear without giving her any pain medication, according to the affidavit.

One witness working in the office that day said she asked Patterson if performing the procedure was a good idea, and said that Patterson responded that she had seen the procedure done “plenty of times,” according to the sheriff’s office. She is not a nurse or doctor, the sheriff’s office said.

Dr. Sessa told an investigator that he did not recall being out of the office at the time, and said that he sees all of his patients after their operations, the affidavit said.

The Department of Health referred the case to the sheriff’s office in July 2012, according to the affidavit.

Patterson is being held without bond until her first appearance in court, the sheriff’s office said.

The sheriff’s office said anyone with concerns about similar incidents should call it at 941-861-4935.

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