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Real Life 'Catch Me If You Can': Teen Posed As Physician's Assistant, Performed Exams, CPR


"He was able to go hands-on with a couple of patients."

Matthew Scheidt (Media credit: The Orlando Sentinel)

It's like he was living out a scene from "Catch Me If You Can" -- police say a 17-year-old boy posed as an emergency room physician's assistant for five days, performing physical exams, cleaning wounds and even doing CPR before hospital officials got suspicious and called the cops.

Matthew Scheidt was arrested Friday and charged with five felonies after officials at Osceola Regional Medical Center in Osceola, Fla. started to doubt the fresh-faced PA really was who he said he was. It was not immediately clear whether anyone was injured as a result of his actions.

"He was able to go hands-on with a couple of patients. He changed bandages. There was one report where he did a physical examination on some disrobed male patients. There's a report where he possibly did chest compressions for about five minutes to a cardiac patient," said Stacie Miller, public information officer for the Kissimmee Police Department told Reuters.

The Orlando Sentinel reported:

Scheidt obtained hospital credentials by claiming to be a physician's assistant in a program at Nova Southeastern University, records show.

He apparently knew the hospital from working as a part-time billing clerk for a local group of surgeons. When Scheidt applied for a hospital identification badge on Aug. 24, he told the personnel office he worked as a P.A. for Surgical Management Group and needed a new badge because the surgical practice had changed its name to Osceola Surgical Associates, the arrest report states.

In the days that followed, Scheidt returned at least twice to request a full-access badge that would let him use the doctors' lounge as well as restricted areas of the hospital, according to the report.

According to the Sentinel, Scheidt's tale began to unravel when an office manager for the surgical group confronted him. He claimed to be a deputy sheriff working in the ER on an undercover investigation so "top secret" the agency would not verify his employment.

Incidentally, Scheidt had once been a member of the Osceola County sheriff's teen program before he was kicked out for wearing equipment that could mislead the public into thinking he was a real deputy, including a law enforcement badge and bulletproof vest.

When first questioned by police, the teen said he never posed as a physician's assistant, and instead said he was just shadowing an ER clerk to learn the hospital's billing system. He showed a detective his hospital ID, a white lab coat with a PA's reference book, pen light and notepad in the pockets.

The Sentinel:

During the week he frequented the emergency room, Scheidt dressed in surgical scrubs and a lab coat identifying him as a physician's assistant, continued asking for a full-access badge to the rest of the hospital and twice claimed to be a deputy sheriff as well, records state.

As part of his duties, Scheidt interviewed patients, read through confidential medical records, performed physical exams on disrobed male patients, cleaned wounds, restrained a combative patient and performed CPR on a patient in cardiac arrest. Police reports do not indicate if Scheidt received evaluations of his work from the hospital.

The teen's father, Matthew Scheidt Sr., told ABC he has no explanation for his son's action.

"If you can come up with a reason, I'm all ears. I'm completely and totally all ears," he said. "I don't know if I should get him psychological help. I just don't know."

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