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Florida police nab teen posing as hospital doctor's aide

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By Barbara Liston

ORLANDO, Fla (Reuters) - Florida police have arrested a 17-year-old who impersonated a physician's assistant at a hospital for about two weeks and treated emergency room patients including a cardiac case, authorities said.

Matthew Scheidt of St. Cloud, a city near the Orlando theme parks, was arrested on Friday and charged with five counts of impersonating a physician's assistant at the Osceola Regional Medical Center, according to Stacie Miller, public information officer for the Kissimmee Police Department.

"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," Miller said.

A call to the hospital for comment on Friday evening was not immediately returned.

Miller said she had no information about any patient being harmed by Scheidt.

"To my knowledge, nobody was injured but I don't know the patients' conditions," Miller said.

Officers who interviewed Scheidt could not elicit his motive.

Miller said Scheidt had been working as a billing clerk at a Kissimmee doctor's office and managed to obtain a hospital access badge in his own name from the medical center.

Miller said Scheidt told people in the emergency room that he was a student from Nova University who was at the hospital to shadow physician's assistants as part of his clinical education.

Miller said Scheidt shadowed some physician's assistants, accessed patient records and attended patient consultations.

Scheidt first raised alarms on August 31 when he tried to gain access to other restricted areas of the hospital.

"By him asking for more access to the hospital areas, it raised a red flag. The hospital contacted us immediately," Miller said.

Miller said Scheidt was being held in a juvenile detention center. Each of the five charges against him is a third-degree felony. Miller said his potential penalty if convicted is uncertain since his case could be handled in juvenile court.

Scheidt was interviewed initially by police at home where he lives with his parents, Miller said. He was arrested at the police department after a subsequent interview. Scheidt's parents could not be reached for comment.

(Editing by Tim Gaynor and Cynthia Johnston)