Health Care

Drugs — selling, holding, prescribing — cost these medical professionals their licenses

The Emergency Suspension Orders that the Florida Department of Health dropped on medical professional licenses so far in 2019 fall into two categories: student loan defaults and drug violators.

Defaults make up six of 10 ESOs. These are the rest.

In 2014, Advanced Registered Nurse Practitioner Jeremy Creech started and ran North Lake Primary Care in Eustis. Now, he’s at the minimum security Lake Butler Reception and Medical Center until October 2023 after pleading guilty six counts of oxycodone delivery, five counts of amphetamine delivery, four counts of hydrocodone delivery and one count of fraudulent use of personal identification.

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Jeremy Creech, release date Oct. 14, 2023. Florida Dept. of Corrections

That last charge led to some of the others, according to a probable cause warrant. DEA agents found, among other things, 28 prescriptions filled at a Eustis Walgreens with the name, state license number, DEA registration number and signature of Jacksonville doctor, Beethoven Ruedas.

Except, it’s not Ruedas’ signature.

The PC affidavit says Creech told the DEA in February 2017 that Ruedas was North Lake’s medical director. Though Creech gave that reasoning for why Reudas’ name was on North Lake’s prescription pads, Creech said Reudas had been to the facility only two or three times.

Creech didn’t know Ruedas already had signed a statement that he’d only talked about doing business with Creech. Creech also didn’t know the DEA had a prescription written from North Lake for a controlled substance to his mother.

Creech: From mine? I don’t remember her having a controlled substances from my name. I mean, I’ve never written anything like that on a script pad.

DEA: That’s your story and you’re sticking to it?

Creech: I’m not.

DEA: You want to think about it for a second?

Creech: I’ll think about it.

Creech eventually pleaded guilty to the charges in November.

New Port Richey certified nursing assistant Rachel Lauren Frizzle, 24, pleaded guilty to possession of a controlled substance, possession of methamphetamine and smuggling contraband into a detention facility. Her two years of probation will end March 20, 2020. But any conviction on the possession charges means an automatic license suspension.

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Rachel Frizzle Florida Dept. of Corrections

Licensed practical nurse Paul Ghigliotti managed to confine his first 15 defendant experiences in Pinellas County court to the traffic division. But in 2014 he was charged with two counts of possession of hydromorphone and two counts of selling hydromorphone.

Guilty verdicts on those counts in November kicked in an automatic ESO on the license Ghigliotti has held since 1990.

Idaisy Gonzalez worked at Maggy Pharmacy Discount, 1255 W. 46th St. in Hialeah. According to Gonzalez’s ESO, the Department of Health sent in an undercover investigator to Maggy on Nov. 30. Gonzalez sold the undercover five 50mg tablets of tramadol, an opioid-class pain medication, for $5. The problem with the sale wasn’t the price.

“The investigator did not present a prescription for tramadol to Gonzalez or have such a prescription on file at the pharmacy,” the ESO said.

Gonzalez said she sold the drugs “she believed that the person needed the medication.”

Maggy fired her. The Department of Health dropped an ESO on her on Jan. 11.

Since 1989, David J. Neal’s domain at the Miami Herald has expanded to include writing about Panthers (NHL and FIU), Dolphins, old school animation, food safety, fraud, naughty lawyers, bad doctors and all manner of breaking news. He drinks coladas whole. He does not work Indianapolis 500 Race Day.