UK & World News

  • 13 June 2013, 11:25

Fake Doctor: 'Vulnerable' Oz Teen Behind Bars

An Australian teenager who pleaded guilty to impersonating doctors and was caught 'treating' a 12-year-old girl in an emergency ward has been remanded in custody for breaching bail conditions.

The 17-year-old boy from Adelaide assisted the girl, who had received minor injuries after falling from a scooter.

Pretending to be suitably medically qualified to examine her, he then administered an unauthorised prescription drug.

The case is reminiscent of the professional conman pilot and doctor Frank Abagnale, who inspired the film Catch Me If You Can starring Leonardo DiCaprio.

At a previous hearing the boy, who cannot be named for legal reasons, pleaded guilty to aggravated assault, making false claims about his identity or qualifications and prescribing a prescription drug without authority.

According to The Adelaide Advertiser, the city's youth court has now heard the boy breached his bail conditions, which prohibited him from being in possession of medical equipment.

Prosecutors said the youth was found in possession of a digital thermometer, gloves, a black jacket with a paramedic badge and a receipt for a stethoscope bought from America.

The newspaper also reported he had a business card with his name and the words "nurse and first responder".

Concerns were initially raised about a young "bogus clinician" roaming hospital wards dressed in scrubs, with a stethoscope around his neck who even stopped to read patients' medical notes between October and December last year.

In a staff memo, management said the teen had been spotted wearing a name badge in wards at the Royal Adelaide Hospital on at least three occasions.

It had been reported that the teenager was suspended as an ambulance volunteer in November 2011, for "inappropriate behaviour".

In a statement at the time, police said "he is not qualified to a level which would entitle him to act in the capacity of a medical professional and he did so under false pretences".

In court on Thursday, the youth was described as an "extremely vulnerable boy" who needed help.

The judge revoked his bail due to the "recent and persistent" breaches and ordered that he return to court in two weeks.