Tags: teen | posing | doctor | australia

'Catch Me If You Can': Australian Teen Accused of Posing as Doctor

Friday, 01 Feb 2013 04:52 PM

By Alexandra Ward

A 17-year-old Australian teen was arrested Friday for allegedly posing as a doctor at several hospitals in Adelaide, wearing scrubs and a stethoscope around his neck, and administering prescription drugs to patients, according to the Adelaide Advertiser newspaper.

Authorities warned hospitals in December about the imposter. At the time, the boy did "not to date committed substantive offenses but, should he make physical contact with a patient posing as a clinician, this would constitute criminal assault," according to the memo sent out by the health department.

However, after he allegedly treated a 12-year-old girl who sustained injuries from a scooter accident this week, the teen was arrested Friday. He reportedly examined the girl and administered her a prescription drug that was not on her patient list of medications, according to ABC News.

He was charged with administering prescription drugs, aggravated assault and identity theft.

He posted bail and will be arraigned at a youth court in the coming days, according to the Advertiser.

Authorities declined to identify the teen because of his minor status.

He was allegedly spotted in Royal Adelaide Hospital wards, wearing a name badge and stethoscope, and even reading patient notes, on three occasions since October, the Advertiser reported in December.

There were also reported sightings of the teen on the grounds of Flinders Medical Centre wearing scrubs, with a FMC lanyard and stethoscope. Additionally, the Advertiser reports that he was allegedly seen in the city posing as a doctor and offering first aid to the general public.

The accused youth, who is reportedly confident and well-versed in medical language, was apparently expelled as an ambulance volunteer last year for inappropriate behavior, the UK Telegraph reported.

The phony physician's exploits are reminiscent of the film "Catch Me If You Can," based on the life of Frank Abagnale, a teenage conman who impersonated a physician, lawyer, and airline pilot before getting caught in 1969 when he was just 21.

The case is also similar to another instance of doctor impersonation in Florida last year. Matthew Scheidt, 17, was arrested on felony charges in Sept. 2011, pretending to be a physician's assistant at a central Florida hospital for five days. The untrained teen spent time in the operating room and emergency room, where he conducted exams, provided patient care and accessed restricted patient information, police told ABC News.

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