Doogie Howser Meets 'Catch Me If You Can'

And today in "the truth really is stranger than fiction," we have this: A teenage boy in West Palm Beach, Florida somehow managed to fool a hospital into thinking he was a doctor for a month before he was caught. An entire month. The Smoking Gun already made the requisite Doogie Howser joke, and we can probably add a Catch Me If You Can one to the mix while we're at it — but all joking aside, it's kind of mind-blowing, is it not?

The Sun-Sentinel reports that the hospital in question is Saint Mary's Medical Center; specifically, we're talking about the OB/GYN office in the hospital's out-patient building. St. Mary's was alerted to the possibility that someone on the premises was impersonating a doctor on January 13; according to the police report (which, by the way, The Smoking Gun managed to get their hands on — head on over there if you want to read it yourself), the boy was wearing a white lab coat with the St. Mary's logo, a stethescope, and a face mask when he was detained. The teen's mother responded to the situation, informing police that her son is under the care of a doctor regarding an undisclosed illness for which he refuses to take medication.

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Witness reports state that the teen was present in an exam room while an actual doctor conducted an examination; according to St. Mary's, however, the boy never actually administered to any patients. Indeed, the security footage described in the police report "shows [the teen] walking around hospital wings, but never entering any rooms or seeing any patients." Reads a statement issued by the hospital:

"The individual never had contact with any hospital patients and did not gain access to any patient care areas of the hospital at any time. The hospital immediately notified local authorities, who took the individual into custody, and we are cooperating with their ongoing investigation. The safety and security of our patients is our highest priority."

Perhaps the most remarkable thing about this whole story is the length of time for which the boy got away with his masquerade. At the same time, though, it's worth remembering that hospitals are huge and extremely busy places; as such, it's possible — likely, even — that unfamiliar faces are just kind of a fact of life when you work in one. Even the boy's youth might not mark him out: Dr. Sebastian Kent — the doctor who, according to the police report, was the one who conducted the examination on which the teen sat in — said that, when he introduced himself as Dr. Robinson, "The first thing I thought was, 'I am really getting old because these young doctors look younger ever year.'"

Both the police and the hospital have opted not to press charges, which is probably a good thing; if the boy is ill, going to jail isn't really going to help him. Sure, the whole thing is a little freaky — but if, as the hospital stated, he never actually tried to treat anyone, no harm was ultimately done. All we can do from here is take whatever lessons we need to from the experience and move on.

Even if I am still in a state of "Guuuuwhaaa?". I'll get over it eventually.

Images: Getty Images (2); Giphy