We’re not used to seeing Dr. Pimple Popper, aka dermatologist Sandra Lee, at the center of a controversy, but the TLC star’s recent comment about registered nurses incited severe backlash in the medical community.
The mother of two’s questionable tweet, which was in response to a WebMD article, has since been deleted, as has her first attempt at an apology. But as we all know (or should all know) by now, nothing can truly be erased from the internet.
What did Dr. Pimple Popper say about nurses?
In response to a WebMD post that asked a RN to explain the difference between sunburn and sun poisoning, Sandra wrote, "Why would a registered nurse explain this? Why not a dermatologist? [Eye roll emoji] #boardcertifieddermatologist."
Hundreds of Twitter users, many of them nurses, were quick to condemn the flippant remark. "So the next time a patient asks me a basic ass question, I’m going to call the specialist to the bedside to answer it," one individual tweeted. "Because I can’t manage it with my tiny nurse brain."
Another critic added, "Such a condescending question. Yes, [Dr. Pimple Popper] registered nurses are qualified and trained to teach about skin issues. We are also trained to diagnosis and treat responses to illness and injury. Please educate yourself on a [nurse’s] scope of practice."
Even Real Housewives of Dallas star Cary Deuber, who’s a certified registered first nurse assistant at her husband’s plastic surgery practice, contributed to the conversation, writing, "Yeah, [Dr. Pimple Popper] I’m sure you run all your lasers, do all your Botox, room all of your patients, and educate them all on your own, right?"
The 44-year-old added, "Well, you might need to now, girl because most would quit after this ridiculous statement."
Sandra Lee also took down the Instagram post containing her initial apology.
Like so many "I’m sorry" proclamations before hers, Sandra only made things worse when she tried to rationalize her original statement. "To all the nurses out there who were insulted by my comment to [WebMD's] post, I wholeheartedly apologize," she began.
"Nurses are kind, caring, intelligent, and an extremely vital part of the medical team. One of the most important people in my life was a fantastic nurse — my mom," she continued. "My post was not meant to insult nurses but rather to point out that WebMD should have asked a dermatologist to answer this question."
The California-based doctor added, "I would have objected similarly to WebMD's post if they had asked a cardiologist or a surgeon to answer the same question… Had nothing to do with the fact that they were asking a nurse but had everything to do with the fact that they were not including a dermatologist. That’s it."
Many people pointed out that Sandra’s words were more defensive than apologetic. "That’s not a real apology," one Twitter user noted.
"Your comment was still condescending with that eye roll emoji and elitist hashtag. This is the whole mentality that causes a divide between MDs and RNs when healthcare is a collaborative interdisciplinary approach. Not a good look."
Sandra has yet to post another response to the continued criticism.