SAN DIEGO, Calif. – A man arrested for impersonating a Harvard-educated doctor at a Southern California hospital pleaded not guilty in court Friday.
Prosecutors say Zaid Jeorge had fooled both doctors and staff at Sharp Grossmont Hospital for weeks, according to KSWB. He was seen periodically at the hospital beginning sometime after Christmas until a hospital administrator discovered his alleged ruse on Jan. 11. When that medical manager questioned him in the doctor’s lounge, he gave her a story she said didn't check out.
Jeorge told the manager that he was an anesthesiologist for Sharp Healthcare, but when she ran his name in the hospital database there was no record of him. He then told her he went to Harvard Medical School and was an intern working with a doctor at the hospital, but that story was also a lie.
In reality, Jeorge is a 27-year-old Iraqi national with a Swedish passport. He has family in San Diego. His defense attorney says he legally entered the U.S. on a visa but it expired last month.
“Mr. Jeorge had obtained a Sharp lab coat, embroidered it with his own name, anesthesiologist and M.D. written on it, and then he went into Sharp Grossmont and impersonated being an anesthesiologist,” said Deputy District Attorney Paul Reizen.
Sharp Healthcare released a statement that reads in part: “We are pleased that we have no evidence of patient interaction or access to patient information. We are also continuing to evaluate this event and reinforcing and enhancing Sharp HealthCare’s security measures.”
Prosecutors allege Jeorge is a threat to the community. The judge granted their request to set his bail at $100,000.
“Obviously when you have someone impersonating a doctor who has gained access to a hospital, they have the ability and obviously the mental capacity to think of certain things that could put the public's health in danger,” said Reizen.