He’s No Doogie Howser: Teenager Posed As A Doctor At A Florida Hospital For A Month

A real-life Doogie Howser impersonator has been caught after impersonating a doctor for well over a month at a Florida Hospital, The Smoking Gun is reporting.

An unnamed 17-year-old was busted by the West Palm Beach Police Department after an OB/GYN patient complained that “a young black male who appeared to be a child was dressed as a doctor.”

Apparently, wearing a lab coat and hanging a stethoscope around your neck is all it takes to convince just about everyone at St. Mary’s Medical Center that you’re a doctor. OK, so he also wore a surgical mask from time to time, and the word “Anesthesiology” was embroidered on the front of his lab coat. But still.

St. Mary's Medical Center, West Palm Beach.

The juvenile kept up the Doogie Howser act for well over a month before he was finally caught – by a patient, no less.

According to The Sun-Sentinel, the Doogie Howser fan managed to convince St. Mary’s staff that he was a doctor, despite being 17 years old and not having, you know, an I.D. badge or anything like that. A security guard reported that the teen was a doctor as far as anyone knew.

A hospital spokesperson told The Smoking Gun that the impersonator never jeopardized patient care or had access to restricted medical care areas. However, a Sun-Sentinel investigation seems to reveal otherwise: at least one security guard claims to have seen the teen enter a secured area of the hospital, and he was seen in a patient exam room while a real doctor was examining a patient.

During the Sun-Sentinel’s investigation, an actual OB/GYN doctor says he never noticed the young impersonator in their midst. He did, however, report that he had found a note on his desk, presumably from the boy, asking whether he could “shadow” him.


Doogie Howswer, for those not familiar with 1990’s pop culture, was a teenage doctor played by Neil Patrick Harris on the show Doogie Howser, M.D., which ran from 1989-1993. Harris played a young genius who got his medical license at age 14, then took a job as a doctor in a hospital.

Outside of the world of 90’s dramedies, however, Doogie Howser-style teenage doctors are all but nonexistent. Dr. Balamurali Ambati became the world-record-holding youngest doctor when he received his M.D. in 1995 at the age of 17, according to Premed Life. More recently, University of Chicago Medical School conferred an M.D. on 21-year-old Sho Yano in 2012, according to The Chicago Tribune.

As for Florida’s would-be Doogie Howser: his mother claims that he’s been refusing to take his medications for an unspecified psychiatric illness, which may have led to his behavior. St. Mary’s Medical Center has declined to press charges against him.

Do you believe this Doogie Howser wannabe should be charged with a crime? Sound off in the Comments below.

[Images courtesy of: Debacles In Dating, 1199SEIU]