BROOKSVILLE — Hernando Sheriff’s Office vice and narcotics detectives want to speak to anyone who might have been treated by a man they arrested for offering health care services without a license following a joint investigation with the Florida Department of Health.
In a release issued Feb. 12, the Sheriff’s Office said the arrested man, Onelio Hipolit-Gonzalez, 72, had advertised his services as a medical practitioner on Elclassificado, an advertisement website for Hispanic people.
In the advertisement, Hipolit-Gonzalez said he could treat various medical conditions, including hernias, diabetes, Parkinson’s disease, cancer, multiple sclerosis, arthrosis, renal failure, leukemia, fibromyalgia, ulcers, vision problems and cysts. The ad included a photo labeled “Dr. Onelio Hipolit.”
An investigator from the Florida Department of Health, told the Sheriff’s Office that Onelio Hipolit-Gonzalez has never held a medical license of any kind in Florida.
On Feb. 7, someone the Sheriff’s Office would only identify as “patient” phoned Hipolit-Gonzalez and asked for an appointment. When asked where to go, Hipolit-Gonzalez told the patient a friend was letting him see people at a residence in east Brooksville, according to the Sheriff’s Office release.
The Sheriff’s Office is not saying anything more about the patient’s identity other than that he is a law enforcement officer, according to Denise Moloney, the Sheriff’s Office community-media relations manager.
When the patient arrived at the address around 10:30 a.m. Feb. 7, he was asked to fill out forms and pay $160.
After then checking the patient’s blood pressure and pulse, Hipolit-Gonzalez placed a band around the man’s head and gave him a metal rod to hold. The band and the rod were connected to a machine sitting in a table.
After the machine made a series of beeping noises, Hipolit-Gonzalez told the patient the device was testing his heart, brain, intestinal system, bones, nerves and "everything else.” The results of the tests showed several problems, Hipolit-Gonzalez told the patient, including high cholesterol and that the patient was not getting “enough oxygen to his brain,” detectives say.
In addition, the patient was told he had problems with his liver and gall bladder and was suffering from diabetes and osteoporosis.
Hipolit-Gonzalez then told the patient he had cured the diabetes of the owner of the house where the examination was taking place and called the supposed owner to confirm the success of the treatment.
After Hipolit-Gonzalez offered to perform a treatment costing $2,000 that would include an injection of his blood into the patient, detectives moved in and placed Hipolit-Gonzalez in custody.
Under questioning at the Sheriff’s Office, Hipolit-Gonzalez told detectives he did not know he needed a license to practice medicine. He told detectives he had been a lab technician in Cuba and after moving to Florida had gone to school to earn certificates in iridology, herbology, and nutrition. Iridology is a form of alternative medicine that derives information about a person’s health from the appearance of the iris in the person’s eye.
Hipolit-Gonzalez told detectives he had bought the beeping machine online and had learned how to use it by reading the instruction manual that came with it. Men, he said, were supposed to hold the rod in their left hand and women their right. The device is accurate and can detect “everything,” he told the detectives.
Regarding the injection treatment, Hipolit-Gonzalez told detectives he does not use his blood. Instead, he first draws a sample of the patient’s blood and then injects the blood back into the patient, spurring the patient’s immune system.
Hipolit-Gonzalez was arrested Feb. 8 on counts of unlicensed practice of a health care profession and the unlawful use of a two-way communication device. His bail was set initial at $10,000.