Florida Teen Charged With Impersonating Physician's Assistant

17-year-old allegedly posed as a physician's assistant at a hospital.

ByABC News
September 3, 2011, 6:53 PM

Sept. 3, 2011— -- A 17-year-old is facing felony charges for his real-life "Catch Me If You Can"-style prank, that could have put lives in danger.

Matthew Scheidt was arrested Friday, accused of impersonating a physician's assistant for five days at a central Florida hospital.

According to police, the untrained teen spent time in the operating room and emergency room, where he conducted exams, provided patient care and accessed restricted patient information.

It all started on Aug. 24, when Scheidt allegedly went to the human resources office at the Osceola Regional Medical Center and requested a new hospital badge, according to the police report.

He allegedly said he was a physician's assistant in a program at Nova Southeastern University and he needed to replace his old badge, which had out of date information. Police said that though he gave two different explanations to two different people in the HR department, he was given a badge with his name and picture, stating that he was a P.A.

That week, Scheidt repeatedly presented himself as a P.A. in the emergency room, according to police.

Physicians on duty told the police Scheidt wore scrubs, a lab coat and his badge, and helped restrain a combative patient, cleaned and dressed wounds and removed an IV for a patient who was being discharged.

Scheidt also performed patient interviews and physical exams on disrobed male patients and accessed patient charts with personal and medical information, the police report said.

On just his second night as a "physician's assistant," he allegedly did chest compressions for about five minutes on a patient in cardiac arrest.

He told hospital staff he was 23 years old, claimed his mother was an executive with the corporation that owns the hospital and bragged he had been deputized with the Osceola County Sheriff's Office, the police report said.

Scheidt allegedly played doctor for six days before emergency room staff contacted human resources because they thought there was something suspicious about him, police said. The ER staff began questioning his qualifications when he continually requested access to restricted areas of the hospital, according to the report.

The HR department contacted the Surgical Management Group, where Scheidt said he was a P.A., and found that though the teen worked there, it was as a part-time billing clerk, not a P.A. Scheidt was fired from that job and had to return his P.A. ID card.

When the Surgical Management Group's practice manager confronted him about his claims that he had been deputized by the Sheriff's Department, he said his status was "top-secret" and the department wouldn't verify his employment because of his undercover status, the police report said.

Again, it appears, the teen was allegedly stretching the truth. Scheidt had been in the Sheriff's Explorer Program, but was removed for "over-stepping his explorer duties," by attempting to mislead people into the belief that he was a deputy, according to the police report.

When an officer from the Kissimmee Police Department showed up at Scheidt's front door to retrieve an ID card he had not turned in when he was fired from the hospital, the teen cried and said he had simply been shadowing as a records clerk, which he is allowed to do, and not acting as a P.A.

He said the HR department at the hospital was making up lies about him to "cover their butts," the police report said. He allegedly stuck with that story and told the officer to check with the emergency room P.A., who would back up his story.

On Sept. 2, Scheidt was arrested, and charged with five counts of impersonating a physician assistant, a third degree felony.

The Osceola Regional Medical Center issued a statement saying that patients treated in the ER during the time Scheidt was there received the medical care they needed, and that they are reviewing hospital practices to ensure this doesn't happen again.