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A 24-year-old doctor is an impressive feat. In addition to an undergraduate education with stellar academic credentials, doctors attend four years of medical school then four more years of residency. But when Daniel Stewart began posing as a doctor in a North Carolina emergency room, it wasn't his young age that gave him away.
It was his lack of proper identification.
Stewart worked in the emergency room for two weeks before a physician's assistant eventually noticed he was not wearing a badge and his tenure as a fake ER doctor came to a quick end. Stewart claimed he held a medical degree from the University of Tennessee and wanted to work at the ER as a visiting resident.
"There was no direct patient care involved. If something was wrong, the hospital should've let me know ... instead of going to the police. My job is to observe and be a helping hand if needed and to further medical assessment," Stewart said, according to MSNBC. The hospital has launched an investigation to determine how many patients Stewart may have seen as a fake ER doctor.
Daniel Stewart faces three misdemeanor charges of impersonating a doctor. Impersonating a physician is an offense that is covered by both state and federal laws and designed to protect the safety of patients. Generally classified as an offense against trade, business, and professions, this type of misrepresentation could have had serious consequences had Stewart been part of a surgery or other medical procedure. MSNBC quotes hospital spokesman Vince Benbenek, "Stewart is a troubled young man with a history of impersonation, or similar activity."
Hopefully his latest impersonation is also his last.