Grand Prairie Spa Owner Who Mistook Woman's Pregnancy for Urinary Tract Infection Has to Stop Practicing Medicine

The website and Facebook pages for The Master's Hand Medical Center in Grand Prairie, which later changed its name to the Master's Hand Spa, have been taken down. The traces that are left on the Internet indicate it offered weight loss treatments, botox, lipo-laser, as well as massages and other spa treatments.

But that's not why one of the center's clients arrived on October 26, 2010. According to records from the Texas Medical Board, the woman, who is not identified, was in pain and underwent a pelvic exam performed by the spa's owner, Claudia Santillan.

Santillan told the woman that the pain was caused by either a urinary tract infection or a tumor and began treating her for a UTI.

"The individual was in fact pregnant," the TMB documents conclude.

Two-and-a-half years later, the TMB has issued its final determination. On February 8, the agency and Santillan entered into an agreed order preventing Santillan from practicing medicine in any form or representing herself as a doctor.

Santillan, reached by phone this afternoon, said she's not nearly as clueless about the practice of medicine as the TMB order makes her sound.

She does have a medical degree and practiced legally for a time, but that was when she lived in Mexico. When she moved here, she began preparing for the U.S. Medical Licensing Examination so she'd be allowed to practice in Texas, but gave up when she decided she couldn't afford it. Instead, she says she took a series of lower-level healthcare jobs, serving as a medical assistant at one office, an interpreter at another, before opening The Master's Hand.

The Master's Hand was never really a clinic, she says, but a spa that happened to offer weight loss treatments. The pregnant woman was undergoing weight loss therapy there when she asked Santillan for a medical exam.

Santillan says she occasionally performed such exams but limited them to family members and close friends. She considered the woman one of the latter, since they went to the same church.

As it turned out, Santillan says the woman had personality issues and refused to believe Santillan's suggestion that the woman was pregnant, going so far as to deny that she was sexually active. That's when Santillan diagnosed her with either a tumor or UTI, which prompted the woman to file a complaint with the TMB, which led to the February 8 order.

Santillan says she has no problem with the order. She's a spa owner, she says, and only did the doctor thing when friends or family were in need. She doesn't see a problem with doing that, since she has the medical training, but said she won't be doing it anymore.

"It was a good lesson," she says of her ordeal with the TMB. "You can't trust nobody."

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Eric Nicholson
Contact: Eric Nicholson