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Every day, hundreds of sick and injured patients walk into free and charitable clinics around the Tampa Bay area in need of a doctor.Many are suffering from chronic conditions, such as diabetes or high blood pressure. Some patients were referred to the clinics by staff at hospitals where they landed after years of neglecting to care for treatable conditions.The clinics allow the patients to pay what they can, or nothing at all. They are staffed by doctors and nurses who volunteer their time. They survive off donations and small grants.Many of the patients have jobs but they are living paycheck to paycheck. None have health insurance, either because they do not qualify for Medicaid or can’t afford private coverage. For these patients, the clinics are often their only option for primary care.

Botched Surgery Leads to Arrests

Three people have been charged in connection to botched, unlicensed treatment given at a West Palm Beach cosmetic surgery center, the South Florida Sun Sentinelreports.

Juan Carlos Pinzon, 43, and Jorge Alarcon, 66, were not licensed to practice medicine in Florida in 2012, when a woman alleges procedures she received left her disfigured, according to the Sun Sentinel. The men are listed on the Health & Beauty Cosmetic Surgery center website as surgical assistants, but say they are physicians in Colombia, the report from the Palm Beach County Sheriff's Office says.

The center director, Dr. William Marrocco, 55,and surgical assistant Monica Daza, 37, also were charged with unlicensed practice of a health care profession causing serious bodily injury.

In an unrelated case, a Palm Harbor mental health counselor has been arrested on charges he had sex with a patient and used another patient’s debit card to buy things for himself, The Tampa Tribune reports. Richard W. Fedora, 65, is facing charges of sexual misconduct by a psychotherapist and grand theft.

Originally founded in December 2006 as an independent grassroots publication dedicated to coverage of health issues in Florida, Health News Florida was acquired by WUSF Public Media in September 2012.