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Florida teen impersonates doctor at Osceola hospital

Imagine being admitted to a hospital, expecting the best care possible, and being treated by a teenager with no medical qualifications whatsoever. This happened last August when a teen impersonated a doctor at a Florida hospital. The fact that a medically-unlicensed teenager was not only given a badge to enter the hospital but was also allowed to treat patients in the emergency department is outrageous. Despite the shocking hospital negligence, the Osceola hospital was only fined $5,000.

The incident occurred when a 17-year-old boy presented himself as a physician's assistant at the Osceola Regional Medical Center. Instead of checking the very young man's credentials, hospital staff provided him with a badge. He was then allowed to enter the emergency department and treat patients. He performed CPR on a woman who later died. He was also able to access confidential patient information.

Since the whole thing happened, the hospital claims it has a more thorough badging system. However, it cannot undo the damage that the young man was permitted to cause. He has been arrested previously for impersonating an officer as well as a physician's assistant.

The hospital was cited for three violations in the incident and was fined a mere $5,000 for allowing an untrained teenager to perform medical procedures on patients. But residents feel that the punishment is nothing but a slap on the wrist. Considering the fact that this particular hospital is one of the 50 most profitable hospitals in the country, the fine is seen as incredibly minor.

When a hospital or doctor exhibits such negligence, it is the patients who suffer the most. Holding these parties accountable for the damages they cause may prevent the same thing from happening again.

Source: Palm Beach Post, "Hospital where teen impersonated physician's assistant slapped with $5,000 fine," April 11, 2012

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