As our Palm Beach and Broward County criminal defense lawyers know, it’s fairly common for people to hand out legal advice that they might have heard on “Suits” or offer medical opinions they might have seen on “Grey’s Anatomy.”
But this incident out of West Palm Beach illustrates a stunt gone too far: a teenager was caught impersonating an OB/GYN at St. Mary’s Medical Center. This case reminds us of a case from 2012, in which a different Florida teen posed as a medical assistant at Osceola Regional Medical Center and treated patients.
We know that there are a number of legal issues brought up by these cases, including laws being violated and the possibility of charges being filed. Still, there are other issues — such as mental health — that must be considered.
According to a report by US News, local police and officials at the West Palm Beach hospital have agreed not to press charges against the teenager who was caught posing as a doctor. Police were initially alerted after a patient told the hospital’s OB/GYN office that a juvenile, who was dressed in a lab coat, was inside the exam room (needless to say a private space, on in which patients would not like non-medical strangers to be present). The teen was apparently wearing a lab coat with the hospital’s logo on it; additionally, the word “anesthesiology” was stitched onto the coat. (The teen did not perform anesthesia on any patient.)
When police were notified and solicited information from hospital officials, a security guard informed police that he had seen the teen around the hospital for roughly a month; someone else told police the teenager had been in (supposedly) secured areas in the medical center.
Upon questioning by police, the teenager informed them that he’s “been a doctor for years.”
That information, coupled with the fact that the teenager’s mother told police that the teen is under the care of a doctor and that he has not been taking his medication, points to a mental health issue, rather than a criminal one. Considering the fact that the teen did not treat patients, and thus did not put anyone’s health in jeopardy, and given the teen’s mental state, it’s clear that police and hospital officials made the right decision in opting not to press criminal charges against him.
Now, as our Palm Beach and Broward County criminal defense lawyers know, the (tentative) out come of this case is far different from that of a different Florida teen, one who impersonated a physician assistant and actually treated patients, drawing comparisons to the main character in the hit movie “Catch Me if You Can.” After the teen went on trial in 2012, facing charges of impersonating a physician assistant and practicing medicine without a license, he was sentenced to a year in prison. In treating patients, the teenager — posing as a physician assistant — examined disrobed patients, dressed wounds, and performed CPR.
Our criminal defense lawyers at the Law Offices of Leifert & Leifert know that impersonating a medical professional is never a good idea; it’s dangerous, potentially harmful, and illegal. If you’ve been arrested for or charged with this or any other crime in Palm Beach, Broward or Miami-Dade County, please contact us to schedule a free consultation by calling 1-888-5-DEFEND (1-888-533-3363). We look forward to assisting you.