Fight This Injustice

A number of hit pieces in the national media have tried to smear 56-year-old Alcalira Jimenez De Rodriguez as somehow “unqualified,” spreading misinformation that the woman arrested for practicing medicine without a license had not actually attended medical school or completed a residency.  This professional was arrested last week in the middle of another complicated rhinoplasty “at Millennium Anti-Aging and Surgery Center at 1450 NW 87th Avenue, according to an arrest report from the Doral Police Department … when detectives got to the office and arrested her, mid-surgery.”  She has been described in some media sources as “a Florida plastic surgeon.”  Unconcerned with this deservedly prestigious title, her patient Vincenzo Zurlo complained that after his first rhinoplasty in February 2020, “he started feeling pain in his nose, so he contacted her Doral clinic again for a second surgery.   However, the second nose job allegedly only made things worse. 

‘My nose wasn’t right. I had this lump close to the tip of my nose, and she was finding excuses. Then [she said] it was liquid accumulated, but no, it was not. It was something that was wrong.’  Pain in Zurlo’s nose didn’t subside, so he contacted Jimenez de Rodriguez for her medical license number… She didn’t provide it. When he called the Florida Department of Health, he was allegedly informed that the 56-year-old did not have a license to practice medicine…”

“Zurlo paid $2800 in total for his two surgeries with Jimenez de Rodriguez, according to the Journal-Constitution.”

“I feel abused. I feel like somebody used me as a piece of meat, just because she decided that one day she would like to play a plastic surgeon.”  

Authorities unfairly raided her office based only on multiple patient complaints, and the flimsy evidence that the accused has no medical license on file with the state of Florida.  Understandably, her attorney “Guillermo de la Puente, said in a phone interview with Oxygen.com that his client is innocent of all charges.”  The additional charges of De Rodriguez using another physician’s DEA number to prescribe antibiotics and pain medications are also likely part of the larger smear.

What should be of greater concern to us all is that we are in the midst of a dire pandemic, which has accentuated the shortage of qualified personnel to treat the increasing numbers of afflicted.  While no studies have as of yet proven that COVID caused life- or appearance-threatening nasal complications, the possibility of such damage cannot be easily dismissed. 

Dana Blaguer, C-ARNP, DNP/PhD, MPH, CHPE and executive director of the Society for Compassionate ARNP Medicine was justifiably outraged: “Provider De Rodriguez has been scheduled for almost a year to be the keynote speaker for this year’s convention.  She has been planning to conduct workshops, and speak on the crisis in care access, and the monopolistic practices of those states whose physicians and other special interest groups are fighting to prevent patients from seeking and attaining the care they need.”  Dr. Blaguer did not shy away from the concerning headline: “The fact that law enforcement was used in such a reckless manner to interfere with a clinician in the practice of her profession shows how much work there is left to do in ensuring equitable access for all.  Those states denying full practice authority based on nothing but an individual’s lack of formalized training or documented expertise are engaging the worst sort of discrimination.  De Rodriguez has shown herself to be an exemplary professional, operating in and upholding the highest traditions and standards of our movement.  It is well-documented that the so-called experts who trained in otolaryngology or plastic surgery charge far more to patients based on simple greed, as well as extra hospital or third-party insurance requirements, and every study has shown that the overwhelming majority of medical malpractice lawsuits involving botched rhinoplasties have occurred in the ranks of these.  It is a matter of record, and frankly common decency, that ENT and other facial surgeries are relatively simple, and can be accomplished by any caring nurse practitioner, or those of equal academic distinction.  Due to the COVID pandemic, we have limited seating for our upcoming convention in Sonoma this summer, however we will be offering Zoom access to all of our workshops for a nominal fee.  Those completing the respective courses of instruction may complete certifications in a number of specialty areas, including nasal midwifery and practical angina doula.  We stand with the non-traditional practitioners of every field in their efforts to improve specialty access for all deserving citizens.  And please, remember to wear a mask at all times, socially distance, and wash your hands!”

As fellow medical professionals, it is our obligation to get behind De Rodriguez and the non-traditional specialty profession, to clean up our own restrictive biases, and get patients the non-emergent, cosmetic care that they deserve in this time of crisis.  We can do no less.

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