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Friday
Jun242011

Phony Doctor Sneaks into Oregon Hospital, 'Mistreats' Patient

Burke/Triolo Productions/Thinkstock(PORTLAND, Ore.) -- Lucas Orlin Ebert looked the part. He dressed in a doctor's smock and vest with the insignia of Oregon Health and Sciences Hospital, and told a woman he was a plastic surgeon.

The 21-year-old was so convincing as a medical doctor that the woman, Sabrine Strader of Beaverton, agreed to meet him at the Portland hospital, which he had sneaked into with bogus identification.

Strader, 45, said that she had given Ebert a few thousand dollars to perform gastric bypass surgery at OHSU. She had met with Ebert several times, and he had told her to stop her pain relievers and anti-anxiety medication that she used for panic attacks, according to the Oregonian.

"He believes what he says, so he's very persuasive," Strader told ABC's affiliate KATU.

Ebert got caught when Strader turned up at the hospital's information desk to ask where to go for her surgery with "Dr. Ebert." When hospital authorities began looking for the doctor, they realized he was a phony.

Police arrested Ebert Monday night on charges of felony criminal mistreatment and theft.

Experts say it's hard to know what motivates someone to impersonate a doctor.

"God only knows," said Dr. Carol Bernstein, associate professor of psychiatry at New York University Hospital. "What motivates someone to masquerade as someone else -- a doctor, a policeman, a fireman -- we don't know. It does depend on what is going on with that particular individual."

Court documents say that hospital video showed Ebert wheeling the woman out of the hospital.

Lt. Robert King of the Portland police said they are working closely with OHSU security police on the case. "We aren't weighing in on [the motivation] at all," King told ABC News.

Police said that Ebert claimed he was a "second year resident in plastic surgery," and in searching his home, they found three sets of doctor's scrubs. OHSU officials said Ebert had a vest with the hospital logo, an item that can be purchased at the facility's bookstore.

Ebert listed OHSU as his employer on his Facebook profile and showed an interest in "surgery" and "plastic surgery." He also said he had worked for Microsoft, a computer business and a porn production house, claims that police say are false.

Impersonating a doctor is not that common, but it does happen, according to NYU's Bernstein. "You do hear of people putting up a shingle and saying, 'I am a doctor.' That's why we have regulatory agencies to check."

Bernstein said impersonators can have any number of psychiatric conditions, including psychosis and severe personality disturbance. But they can also be con artists.

"It could also be someone playing around and conscious about what they are doing," she said.

Portland authorities said they have no idea what motivated Lucas Orlin Ebert.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio

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