On Thursday, August 30, a Florida jury found Matthew Scheidt, 18, guilty of practicing medicine without a license and impersonating a physician assistant.
Hospital-Issued Badge Identified Scheidt as Physician Assistant
In August 2011, Scheidt posed as a medical professional at the Osceola Regional Medical Center for more than a week. According to Scheidt, he was employed as a clerk at a doctor’s office located across the street from the hospital. As a clerk, he was required to carry a certain badge, which he could pick up at the hospital. He was mistakenly given a badge that identified him as a physician assistant rather than a clerk.
Scheidt was convicted of two counts of practicing medicine without a license and two counts of impersonating a physician assistant. Each count carries a sentence of up to five years in prison. Scheidt was convicted despite pleading not guilty to all of the charges. Sentencing is scheduled for November 14. Because he is a minor with no prior violent convictions, he may qualify for youthful-offender status and receive a more lenient sentence.
Scheidt Treated ER Patients
Prosecutors argued that Schiedt wore scrubs, a stethoscope and lab coat while assisting in the hospital’s emergency room. He also wore the badge that improperly identified him as a physician assistant. Prosecution said that he helped conduct medical exams and changed patients’ bandages.
Scheidt treated patients in the emergency room for more than a week before hospital staff discovered that he was a fraud. He was able to use appropriate medical terminology through an app he had downloaded onto his smartphone. He is not accused of causing harm to any of the hospital’s patients.
Trial witnesses included several hospital employees who claimed that they were deceived by Scheidt. In trial testimony, Scheidt was accused of helping to restrain a psychiatric patient and holding the hand of a young patient during a minor surgical procedure. He also accessed confidential patient information.
After his arrest, Scheidt told authorities that he had performed CPR on a hospital patient because he was the only one around and did not want her to die.
According to defense attorneys, Scheidt never claimed to be a physician assistant. If anyone asked, he would say he was a student. His attorneys claimed that the hospital administrators were at fault for providing Scheidt with a badge without first confirming his credentials. They argued that the hospital wanted to shift the blame to the teenager in order to avoid liability for giving an unauthorized person access to patients and their confidential medical records.
Scheidt was arrested in September of 2011. He was released on bond before being arrested in January for impersonating a police officer in Miami Beach.
Faces Charges of Impersonating a Police Officer
In this case, he was driving a vehicle that resembled an undercover police car, complete with a computer on the dashboard. He was arrested after he pulled up next to an actual undercover police car. The undercover officer observed Scheidt to be acting as an officer and using police jargon. The officer reported that Scheidt twice answered “Yes” when asked if he was a police officer.
Scheidt still faces trial on these charges.
About the author:- Aaron Gormley is fascinated by issues related to medicine and healthcare, which is why he has considered pursuing an education on the site: http://www.medicalcodingandbillingcertification.net/.