Bogus Doctor: Australian Teen 'Prescribed Drugs'

Jonathan Samuels, Australia Correspondent
Bogus Doctor: Australian Teen 'Prescribed Drugs'

An Australian teenager has been arrested after allegedly impersonating doctors for months.

Police believe the 17-year-old boy from Adelaide recently assisted a 12-year-old girl in a city hospital after she fell off her scooter.

Pretending to be medically qualified to examine the girl, it is claimed the teenager then administered an unauthorised prescription drug.

The arrest comes after concerns were raised about a young "bogus clinician" roaming hospital wards dressed in scrubs, with a stethoscope around his neck.

The young man even stopped to read patients' medical notes between October and December last year.

According to the Adelaide Advertiser police urged hospital staff to inform them should they spot the intruder, nicknamed "Dr Who".

In a staff memo, management said the teen had been spotted wearing a name badge in wards at the Royal Adelaide Hospital on at least three occasions.

It also noted that he had "not to date committed substantive offences but, should he make physical contact with a patient posing as a clinician, this would constitute criminal assault".

The case is reminiscent of the professional conman pilot and doctor Frank Abagnale who inspired the film Catch Me If You Can starring Leonardo DiCaprio.

Before the arrest , Australian health minister John Hill said medical officials were taking the issue seriously.

"This is not something we want in our hospitals, we would like to ensure it doesn't happen any further," Mr Hill said.

He added: "He walks around with a clipboard and just talks to people."

It has been reported that the teenager was suspended as an ambulance volunteer in November 2011 for "inappropriate behaviour".

Police said: "He is not qualified to a level which would entitle him to act in the capacity of a medical professional and he did so under false pretences."

The teenager has been bailed to appear in the Adelaide Youth Court at a later date.