Yet more evidence emerges suggesting she has no licence to nurse
More information has emerged about the woman that GMO and pesticide enthusiast Kevin Folta promoted as a nurse, even though he knew she is not licensed to practise nursing.
This makes it more certain than ever that Folta knew Porozinski did not have the appropriate qualifications to call herself a nurse when he promoted her "skeptical nurse" social media accounts and the information they provided on diet and health.
Since these accusations were first made, Folta has repeatedly implied that Porozinski is a real nurse. But searches for a nursing licence for Porozinski in Florida, where she and Folta reside, have brought up nothing other than her delinquent licence as a Certified Nursing Assistant.
We also know that Porozinski, after a long career as a hairdresser, is now a student nurse. That’s because she recently posted a picture on Facebook (Porozinski is shown bottom left) with the comment, “Last day of clinicals with ‘my group’! – at Shands @ UF.” Clinicals are when students learn about nursing in an actual job setting, in this case at the University of Florida’s Shands Hospital.
The picture was posted as recently as 7 January this year. Yet Folta was promoting her as a nurse at the end of last year, and her “skeptical nurse” social media accounts predate that. If Porozinski has recently been undergoing nurse training, even if she is right at the end of nursing school, she is clearly still not a nurse and will not become one until she has a licence.
Calling yourself a nurse when you don’t have a licence is a criminal offence in Florida, as we have previously noted. And the State is keen to root out fake nurses, as the Florida-based Health Law Firm reported in a 2015 piece on the State’s increasing number of investigations and prosecutions.
It seems unlikely that Folta and Porozinski are unaware of the State’s concern over the issue. As part of its crackdown, Florida’s Department of Health even went so far as to produce several videos alerting the public to the issue, which were shown as “movie previews” in cinemas in parts of Florida. Given all this, it seems inconceivable that Porozinski was not made aware of the legal position during her course.
And Florida is of course not the only US state where you can get into trouble for using the title of nurse without a current licence – the title is protected across the US. And many other countries regulate the use of the title equally strictly. For instance, in 2016 an electoral candidate in Australia found herself in hot water after it emerged that she had been referring to herself as a nurse when she lacked a current licence, potentially exposing herself to a hefty fine of some 30,000 Australian dollars.
Interestingly, this controversy blew up simply because her nurse registration had lapsed. She actually had a full nursing qualification, plus several years of experience working as a nurse, and had even been undertaking post-graduate study in critical care. Porozinski, in contrast, appears to have been using the title of nurse on social media when she was no more than someone trying to become one.
Yet Kevin Folta told the veteran journalist Carey Gillam on Twitter that this was not a case of a "fake nurse" and implied that the only reason they had not provided evidence of her right to call herself a nurse was simply to protect “her privacy”.
Now we know that Porozinski is actually Folta’s wife, it seems certain that Folta knew from the start that she had no right to describe herself as a nurse. Yet not only does he appear to have done nothing to dissuade her from doing so, but he actually promoted her himself as a nurse, while knowing she was not licensed as one.
This suggests the privacy issue is nothing more than a smokescreen for Folta’s complicity. In other words, he is trying to protect not just his wife’s behaviour from proper scrutiny, but also his own.
If Kevin Folta has evidence to the contrary, then now is the time for him to produce it. If not, then it’s time he finally came clean and apologised for the way he and his wife have behaved.
It’s also past time for the University of Florida to call Folta out on his behaviour. They can’t go on treating him as the Donald Trump of academia – someone who never needs to apologize or otherwise own up to his wrongdoing. Professional standards in medicine and academia should not be undermined just because the wrongdoers appear to be shameless and have powerful support.