Sheriff: Office manager performed medical procedure

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SARASOTA, Fla. - A woman employed as an office manager at a Sarasota plastic surgeon's office has been arrested after investigators say she was practicing medicine without a license.

The Sarasota County Sheriff’s Office arrested 44-year-old Christine Patterson of Sarasota for Practicing Medicine without a License after a patient complained that she performed a post-operative procedure on her following cosmetic surgery.

According to sheriff's investigators, in April 2011, a patient went to Sarasota Surgical Arts to see Dr. Sessa for a follow-up visit the day after surgery. Patterson examined the victim, re-wrapped the bandages and sent the patient home. The following day the patient returned to Dr. Sessa’s office due to swelling that occurred. Patterson contacted Dr. Sessa, who was out of town, and decided to insert a drain to remove excess fluid. The patient said the pain was excruciating.

A witness working in the office the day of the incident told investigators she asked Patterson if performing a procedure was a good idea, and Patterson responded that she had seen the procedure done “plenty of times.”

The investigation confirmed Patterson conducted the surgical procedure in order to treat the patient’s condition without a license to practice medicine. Detectives also determined that Dr. Sessa, who is Patterson’s brother, employed her as a medical biller and an office manager and that she is not a nurse or doctor.

Patterson is being held without bond until first appearance and is prohibited from having contact with any patients of Dr. Sessa or Sarasota Surgical Arts.

Anyone with concerns about similar incidents should contact Criminal Investigations at 941-861-4935.