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Teen impersonates a physician's assistant in ER for weeks

When people here in Michigan go to a clinic or end up in the hospital, they are sometimes leery of younger doctors. This is not always rational, as younger doctors can be just as competent as their older counterparts and may even be better trained in newer areas of medicine, but nonetheless people are sometimes uncomfortable being treated by a "Doogie Howser."

Although these fears are generally unfounded--because a doctor is a doctor--some people have had this nightmare come true. Late last month a young man went to trial on charges of impersonating a physician's assistant and practicing medicine without a license, at the age of 17, for weeks.

The young man reportedly received a physician's assistant badge at a hospital last year when he was supposed to receive a badge for his new job as a doctor's office clerk. Instead of telling someone about the error, the teen played along and worked in the hospital for weeks as an unlicensed physician's assistant.

The teen worked in the emergency room, handling IVs, assisting with exams and changing bandages. He even performed CPR on a woman who was suffering from a drug overdose.

While this young man made bad and dangerous decisions in going along with this impersonation effort, one also wonders about the hospital's responsibility. How could a teenager so easily be entered into the hospital's computer system and receive clearance to do this job? Furthermore, were there no licensed medical professionals who noticed this teen was not equipped for the job he was doing?

Luckily, it does not appear that anyone suffered injuries at the hands of this teen. The hospital could possibly be considered liable if this teen did harm someone after being errantly allowed to work with patients at this facility for weeks.

Source: Sentinelsource.com, "Teen played doctor-in the emergency room," Lateef Mungin, Aug. 28, 2012

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