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How Did a 17-Year-Old Get Away with Pretending to Be a Doctor?

March 24, 2015
Colson Hicks Eidson

While the events depicted in a movie such as Catch Me If You Can, a based-on-true-life tale where a young con artist pretends to be an airline pilot, lawyer and doctor, can make for excellent entertainment, the fact that such scenarios can and have played out in real life is extremely frightening. A hospital should never allow someone who is unqualified to slip through the cracks when it comes to treating patients, where even routine decisions can mean the difference between life and death.

Unfortunately, such a scenario did play out earlier this year at a West Palm Beach, Florida hospital, when a 17-year-old boy somehow got away with posing as a doctor for a month. The incident took place at St. Mary’s Medical Center, where no one reportedly seemed to notice a teenager making the rounds with a stethoscope around his neck and wearing a white lab coat with “Anesthesiology” and the hospital’s logo stitched on the front.

Police investigating the case have said that the teen made no attempt to blend in to the background, and those around the hospital assumed he was a real doctor. The 17-year-old fake doctor was finally caught when a real doctor noticed him entering the exam room of an OB-GYN office while the real physician was examining a patient.

After the imposter was finally discovered, security and police were called to the office. Once the authorities unearthed the teen’s identity, his mother was called. Upon reaching the scene, the mother told officers that her son suffers from an undisclosed illness but had been refusing to take his medication.

How Do I Do a Background Check on My Doctor?

According to the Washington Post, there are several places you can go to check your doctor’s credentials, including:

  • Your state’s medical board
  • Heatlhgrades.com
  • ProPublica.org

Did You Know? At 17 years old, Dr. Bala Ambati was the youngest person to ever earn an M.D.

Colson Hicks Eidson – Injury Attorneys