As a 17-year-old boy awaits trial on charges of impersonating a physician's assistant, Osceola Regional Medical Center has tightened hospital procedures that allowed the teen to treat patients, a state report released today shows.
The Florida Agency for Healthcare Administration's report reveals inadequacies in the hospital's personnel management that allowed Matthew Scheidt to obtain medical credentials and care for patients in the emergency room in August.
According to the report, the hospital's human-resources office gave Scheidt a "courtesy badge" when he said he worked for a physician's group called "Surgical Management," which has an office nearby.
No one verified whether the teen was employed there, the report states.
Scheidt went a second time to get a "PA" badge, saying he had a new position as a physician's assistant. A human-resources staff member told investigators she made a note of the change but could not remember printing the badge.
The hospital did not call the medical-staffing office to confirm Scheidt's claims, the report concluded.
State officials charge the hospital with failing to protect patients from Scheidt, who had access to an unknown number of them and their confidential medical records. The hospital's chief nursing officer told investigators the facility sees about 200 patients a day, the report states.
Investigators interviewed emergency-room workers who said Scheidt told them he was a PA student from Nova Southeastern University and wanted to be placed on a clinical rotation. But the hospital no longer provided rotations.
The medical director of the emergency department told the teen he could shadow a doctor for one day, but he needed permission from the medical-staffing office. The 17-year-old never produced an approval letter — nor was he asked to do so, investigators found.
While at the hospital, Scheidt read patient records on computer screens and in medical documents that included social security numbers, addresses and insurance information. He was seen writing information in a personal notebook, the report states.
Scheidt performed ear, eye and neurological examinations and listened to a patient's lungs while working the night shift for nearly a week in August, the report found.
He also restrained a combative patient, held down a pediatric patient who was being sutured and performed cardiopulmonary resuscitation correctly on a patient who later died from a drug overdose, the report says.
Hospital policy allows students to touch patients for exams and assessments, the hospital's chief of medical staff stated in the report.
Hospital officials told investigators they have revised policies and now require additional oversight of students and observers by directors and managers. A hospital spokeswoman could not be reached late today.
Administrators said they have corrected the process for issuing badges and verifying the credentials of hospital employees, the report states.
Scheidt, who police said tried to impersonate a nurse at a hospital in St. Cloud when he was 13, is in his mother's custody awaiting prosecution as an adult. He was not prosecuted in the St. Cloud case.
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