Physician imposter gains access to 5 Brigham and Women's ORs

A 42-year-old woman dressed in scrubs attended patient rounds and observed operations at Brigham and Women's Hospital in Boston even though she wasn't a physician, according to the Boston Globe.

Cheryl Wang first gained access to restricted areas at Brigham and Women's Hospital in September by requesting to shadow a surgeon while her application with the National Resident Matching Program was pending.

A surgeon agreed to let Ms. Wang shadow him not knowing she had been dismissed from a surgical residency program at Mount Sinai St. Luke's Hospital in New York City in May and reported to the New York Office of Professional Misconduct. It was also later discovered that Ms. Wang forged the three letters of recommendation attached to her application with the National Resident Matching Program, according to the report.

Ms. Wang returned to the hospital the week of Dec. 5 dressed in scrubs bearing the Brigham and Women's logo. She gained access to five operating rooms over two days. Staff said she observed operations by standing on a stool, which is a common practice among observers.

Although Brigham and Women's staff are required to scan their identification badges to enter surgery suites, Ms. Wang slipped into the operating rooms by walking in behind other employees who were holding the door for one another during shift changes. A Brigham spokeswoman told the Boston Globe Ms. Wang did not "touch, treat, or provide care to a single patient."

Hospital security escorted Ms. Wang off of the property Dec. 7 after she attended patient rounds in thoracic surgery and physicians realized she was not authorized to be there. Security emailed an alert to OR staff with a picture of Ms. Wang as well, according to the Boston Globe.

On Dec. 8, Ms. Wang attempted to attend a medical staff discussion at Massachusetts General Hospital in Boston. After being caught and interviewed by investigators from Mass General and Brigham and Women's, Ms. Wang went to Boston Children's Hospital, which is connected to Brigham and Women's, where she was turned away by security.

Since the incident, Brigham and Women's has changed its policy for observers in its surgical suites. A physician sponsoring an observer is now required to verify with the student's educational institution that the student is in good standing. 

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