Tuesday, September 9, 2003
Carmel on the Case: Unlicensed Silicon Injections
In the quest to look our best, some South Floridians are willing to trust unlicensed people to give them silicone injections. Sometimes with disastrous results. Tonight investigative reporter Carmel Cafiero is on just such a case with an unusual twist.
(WSVN) --This is Rose Marie Nodarse before. . .
And this is Rose Marie Nodarse after. . . she suffered a botched injection.
"I'm very self conscious," she says. "I have no smile. Can't smile no more. And I really don't like to be in a group of people."
Nodarse had to have emergency surgery after silicone injected into her face - crystallized.
"And I was left with palsy in my face because a nerve was severed or something because he had to go really deep to get the stuff out," she says.
She says this woman - Grace Caggiano - also known as Grace Pulicicchio - injected her with some sort of silicone to get rid of wrinkles.
When state and local agents raided Caggiano's Plantation house they found used needles carelessly tossed in the garbage and injectable drugs all over the place.
The unapproved drugs were on the kitchen counter - in the cupboard - in the cabinet - in the drawer - she even had a travel case for injections on the go.
Experts say she and others like her operate in what you call an "injection underground" - where everybody from clerks at cosmetic counters to workers at beauty salons refer customers.
An undercover investigator for the state health department says she was making a lot of money.
"We have estimated anywhere between a hundred thousand dollars a year and a million a year," says the investigator.
Caggiano was charged with practicing medicine without a license.
" I thought she was licensed," says Nodarse, "not a doctor but I thought she was a registered nurse or something and she was doing these things."
Now Nodarse has filed a lawsuit.
But it doesn't name Caggiano.
The lawsuit names this Broward beauty salon - Fantasy Hair And Nails.
It accuses the salon of negligence because a worker allegedly referred Nodarse to Caggiano.
Nodarse's Attorney, Ken Padowitz says, "This was the natural choice to listen to their advice and their referral as to who to go to, to enhance other features - for example her face."
The salon's attorney declined an interview.
In court papers, he has maintained Nodarse...
"...Should have known as to Grace Caggiano's... Lack of qualifications."
The courts will have to determine who is right on that issue.
Dermatologist Dr. Diane Walder says allowing any unlicensed person to inject you with anything - risks serious complications.
"Once this stuff is in you can't get it out," she says. "You have to cut it out. And so the consequences are long term."
Grace Caggiano spent nine months on probation... a disappointment to investigators.
"And here's a person that's back out on the street again," says the undercover investigator, "and it's such a lucrative business - why should she stop?"
Rose Marie Nodrase, who is a realtor, says "her" sentence will be much longer than nine months.
"How do you face the rest of the world when you know you have to make eye contact with everybody and the first place they're going to look is in your face - not anywhere else," says Nodarse.
Grace Caggiano's attorney says she's left the country, but there are rumors she's still around. And she could be added to the lawsuit. It's a lawsuit that may make others think twice before recommending injections from anyone other than a licensed professional.
If you have a story for Carmel or for more information, contact her at:
954-921-CLUE in Broward