(KISSIMMEE, Fla.) — Matthew Scheidt, the Florida teen on trial for posing as a medical professional, was found guilty Thursday of impersonating a physician’s assistant and practicing medicine without a license.
A jury found the 18-year-old guilty of two counts of impersonation and on two of three counts of practicing without a license.
Scheidt reportedly wept when the verdict was read. He will be sentenced Nov. 14 and faces up to 25 years in prison on the felony counts.
During the trial prosecutors said Scheidt masqueraded as a physician’s assistant and played the part so well that he even wore scrubs and a stethoscope.
The teen was arrested Sept. 2, 2011 after police say he posed as a physician’s assistant at Osceola Regional Medical Center in Kissimmee, Fla.
Scheidt, who was then 17, had actually been employed as a clerk at a doctor’s office across the street from the hospital. He told police that when he went into the medical center to get his identification, he was given incorrect credentials.
Prosecutor Sarah Freeman told jurors Tuesday that the teen went so far in his deception as to be “Dressed in scrubs, stethoscope around his neck…he even had the terminology down.”
Scheidt’s attorney, Jamie Kane, insisted Scheidt was innocent, and blamed hospital administrators who gave the teen a badge meant for a physician assistant without checking his credentials.
Edith Silva, a hospital human resources employee, testified that she never verified that he was a physician assistant “because the office was very busy.”
Scheidt’s attorney says he never lied or never intended to deceive anyone, and that he told those who asked that he was a student, but the prosecution called numerous witnesses who contradicted that assertion.
“I walked into the room and observed Mr. Scheidt, stethoscope to a patient’s chest, listening to breath sounds,” said Devin Mone, an emergency room physician assistant. “And he had an IV catheter in his hand.”
After his arrest, Scheidt talked openly to police about what happened, telling them that a doctor at the hospital had asked him to take over CPR on a patient.
“I started doing CPR for a minute, two minutes, while he went to get medications and came back in. That was it,” he said.
“I swear to God I did not do nothing….I felt so uncomfortable even doing that. And, you know, the only reason why I did do it was because there was nobody else in there. And I’m not going to let her die,” he said.
This isn’t the first time Scheidt apparently faked being in a position of authority.
Four months after he was arrested on the charges relating to the medical center, he was again arrested, allegedly for impersonating a police officer.
Scheidt was allegedly driving through Miami Beach in what looked like a police cruiser when he was pulled over by undercover police officers.
Scheidt’s grandfather has said the teen needs help.
“He isn’t right upstairs,” Thomas Scheidt Sr. told Good Morning America in September 2011. “He needs some psychiatric help.”
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