Teen poses as physician assistant at 2 Texas hospitals for a month

A teenager posed as a physician assistant at two Corpus Christi, Texas hospitals for nearly a month before being caught, KRIS reported April 3.

Zachry Bailey purchased $41 worth of scrubs and walked into Corpus Christi Medical Center's Bay Area Hospital asking for a badge. The hospital's primary human resources staff were out of the office. Mr. Bailey told the volunteer coordinator manning the office that he was a traveling physician assistant. The coordinator made him a badge, though she said she had reservations about it.

"They basically beat it into our heads that we needed to be all about customer service, so I was like OK, if you send me a picture, then I can get your badge started for you," CCMC's former volunteer coordinator said. She said she then informed her supervisors of the incident the same day, noting Mr. Bailey's apparent age, but nothing came of it.

Mr. Bailey was seen in two Corpus Christi hospitals: Bay Area and Doctors Regional. Between March 31 and April 28, 2022, he came and went without notice, sometimes seen in the dressing rooms changing into other people's clothes or scrubs. According to the report, no one was suspicious until he was hanging around the intensive care unit one night.

"He was asking about other doctors that work there, talking about the other nurses, talking about his girlfriend and cars and just all sorts of stuff, and the more they were telling me he was talking about the more I felt something is not right," an ICU nurse told KRIS. "I don't know if he was specifically asking for access to the computer, but he was just mentioning that he doesn't have access, which you need a [certain type of] ID and he was asking how he gets access."

When asked, Mr. Bailey mistakenly said he went to a community college called Stevens College, which is an all girls school.

"He is saying he's a PA, that he is Dr. Gleeson's PA, that he is going to come do our procedures … I was like the kid looks 12 years old, I just don't believe anything he's saying," another ICU nurse told KRIS.

The nurses dug into Mr. Bailey's social media and determined he wasn't who he said he was. Mr. Bailey was escorted out and his badge access disabled. The volunteer coordinator who issued the badge was let go that week.

"Corpus Christi Medical Center notified local law enforcement of an incident involving a physician assistant impostor in our facility in April 2022," a system spokesperson told Becker's. "The suspect did not have any interaction with any patients inside our hospital. We take this matter very seriously and continue to assist local officials in their investigation."

Texas police officers became involved in the case shortly after the discovery. According to the article, Missouri police already had an open case against Mr. Bailey related to alleged bank fraud.

While posing as a medical professional, Mr. Bailey rented an apartment. Texas officers went to the apartment and impounded Mr. Bailey's car, recovered the hospital badge and a bag of scrubs detectives said were stolen. A few days later, the police returned with a warrant but found the apartment abandoned.

Police arrested Mr. Bailey at a local hotel without incident. Inside the room, they found a "ghost gun" — a homemade gun without a serial number, which is legal to own in Texas for people older than 21 — a bulletproof vest, a gun belt, ammunition, more stolen scrubs and a T-shirt with "sheriff" written on it. Investigator's said they believe the teenager was "preparing to impersonate a peace officer since his PA impersonation was revealed."

Mr. Bailey was arrested in June 2022 and released on bond. However, he was arrested again a month later for violations related to his GPS tracking system. He was released on bond in October and in December pleaded guilty to the third-degree felony of practicing as a physician assistant without a license. He was sentenced with deferred adjudication and his conviction will be removed from his record after six years if he meets the terms of his community supervision.

Part of the community supervision included staying in the state of Texas. However, KRIS discovered Mr. Bailey had moved to Oklahoma. After the publication informed the community supervisions department, Mr. Bailey was ordered to return. He stood before a judge who ordered him to stay in Texas.


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