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Jury finds Florida teen guilty of impersonating a physician assistant

Posted at 8:34 PM, Aug 30, 2012

By the CNN Wire Staff

(CNN) – A Florida jury found a teenager guilty Thursday of impersonating a physician assistant and practicing medicine without a license.

Matthew Scheidt spent some two weeks posing as a professional at the Osceola Regional Medical Center in August 2011. He was just 17 at the time.

Scheidt told investigators he went to the hospital last year to get a badge for his job as a clerk at a doctor’s office across the street. But he said someone botched the paperwork. [RELATED: Florida teen who impersonated assistant doctor goes on trial]

He was charged with two counts of impersonating a physician assistant and three counts of practicing medicine without a license. He was found guilty on four of the five counts, excluding one count of practicing medicine without a license.

Scheidt is scheduled to be sentenced on November 14. Each count carries a maximum of five years in prison.

According to prosecutors, Scheidt worked in the hospital’s emergency room, changing bandages and helping to conduct exams. He sported a lab coat, scrubs and a stethoscope, in addition to the badge that identified him as a physician assistant.

He held the hand of a child who was getting sutures and helped to restrain an unruly psychiatric patient, trial testimony showed.

After his arrest, Scheidt admitted to performing CPR on a patient suffering from a drug overdose, authorities told CNN affiliate WFTV.

“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 told investigators at the time, according to the television station.

During his interrogation, Scheidt confessed and admitted he had made mistakes, according to WFTV.

“I messed up. I should have addressed the issue when it was given to me. I just didn’t want any questions asked, like I just wanted to learn as much as I possibly could,” he said.

Scheidt pleaded not guilty to the charges and had sought to get his confession thrown out of court. The defense argued that Scheidt presented himself as a student, not a physician assistant, and that whatever contact he had with patients was minimal and meant simply to provide comfort.

He was arrested in September 2011 and allowed to bond out.

But in January, Scheidt was back in police custody.

The charge: impersonating a police officer.

CNN’s Lateef Mungin and In Session’s Aletse Mellado contributed to this report.