A once-prominent New York City surgeon is starting fresh with a new life as a stand-up comedian and novelist after an incident with cops last year destroyed her career.
Dr. Rachel Wellner was once a frequent expert guest on TV with a thriving practice at the renowned Montefiore Medical Center as a breast cancer surgeon.
But that all changed in February 2016, when Wellner parked her Volvo at the crosswalk of a busy Manhattan street. She said she dashed into The Vitamin Shoppe and when she returned to her car a minute later, she saw cops giving her a parking ticket, and cops say the doctor became confrontational.
According to police, Wellner told them: “I'm a doctor. I have patients that are dying. I’m the hero, the cops are not. I don’t accept the summons."
Authorities say the Ivy League-educated doctor then tried to flee the scene and hit one of the officers with her car.
She was arrested, placed in cuffs and hauled away while wearing a pink coat over her scrubs. She pleaded guilty to disorderly conduct.
The plea deal that included 10 days of community service, picking up trash in New York City parks.
Months later, she was fired from her job.
“That was hardest part," she said. "You spent 20 years in training. And I didn’t actually believe that was going to happen."
Now, she lives in South Beach, Miami, and has rebranded herself as a comedian and author of erotic novels.
"I'm a breast doctor," she joked at a recent performance inside a Miami comedy club. "I know we changed from the Sunshine State to the Silicon State."
She is penning her current debut novel now, which is said to be an erotic murder mystery story that borrows from her brush with the law.
But in her heart, she says she really wants to get back to the profession she studied and worked hard for.
"I know that I will come back if given another opportunity," she said.
Wellner filed a $30 million civil lawsuit against the NYPD, claiming the officers were verbally and physically abusive to her. She says she fled the scene because she feared for her life. She also denies calling herself a hero.
The NYPD had no comment when asked about her lawsuit or her allegations.