A Delray Beach spa owner is facing a charge of practicing medicine without a license after city police said she agreed to give an undercover officer a testosterone injection without being certified to do so.
Jennifer Aspen owns Mermaid’s Skin and Wellness, which offers services such as IV drips and Botox and hormone injections by “certified & licensed professionals,” according to its website. Yet a Florida Department of Health investigator found that Aspen – the spa’s only full-time employee – is a certified nursing assistant and not allowed to administer any of those treatments, said Brad Dalton, DOH spokesman.
Delray Beach police went to Mermaid’s, at Federal Highway at Northeast Fourth Street, and the officer arranged to receive a testosterone shot. They said in their report that Aspen said she would perform the injection and was about to have the officer’s blood drawn when they arrested her.
Aspen, 40, of Oakland Park denied that she was going to inject the officer “even when told the offer was recorded,” according to the report. She also denied injecting any patients with Botox during an interview with police.
Aspen was served with a cease-and-desist order, stopping her from performing services that the state deems to be medical practices, Dalton said. She can continue to work as a certified nursing assistant.
When reached for comment last week, Aspen said it was all a misunderstanding and declined to elaborate. She was booked into the Palm Beach County Jail on May 19 and was released that day on $4,500 bond. This is the first time she has been accused of the offense in either Palm Beach or Broward counties, court records indicate.
The state probe began in December when an investigator reported seeing Aspen advertise testosterone-replacement therapy services on Craigslist. The investigator went undercover and spoke with Aspen, who said she had just recently opened the spa and that she had a medical director who wasn’t set up yet.
The state notified Delray Beach police, which sent their own officer to the spa in January. A college student working there said Aspen held monthly Botox parties, police said.
In February, the Delray Beach agent went in again and asked Aspen for a testosterone injection. Police said Aspen signed a lab order with the name “Dr. Omar Garcia MD,” although Garcia was not on site that day. Other officers then entered the spa to stop the procedure.
During interviews, Aspen told police that Garcia, a state-licensed doctor and the spa’s medical supervisor, had only been to the business three times. The college student said his license was displayed on the wall.
When reached Wednesday by The Palm Beach Post, Garcia said he had instructed Aspen to advertise for the business to gather a client base, and that he would then administer medicine when he came there from Ocala, where his practice is headquartered.
Garcia said he didn’t know Aspen was administering medicine.
“If she did it, she was doing it without my consent,” he said.
Aspen, a certified nursing assistant in Florida since December 2000, told police said she was allowed to administer IVs because they are a “drip, not a push.” Dalton said CNAs are not permitted to administer IVs.
State records indicate that a certified nursing assistant can help with personal-care tasks, such as dressing and bathing, under supervision of either a registered nurse or a licensed practical nurse. They cannot administer medicine regardless of supervision, meaning they cannot inject people with Botox, fillers or hormones, Dalton said.