- A 42-year-old woman posed as a medical student to observe operations at Brigham and Women’s Hospital in Boston over two days in December, according to a Boston Globe report.
- Cheryl Wang had been dismissed from a surgical residency program at Mount Sinai St. Luke’s Hospital in New York City last spring and reported to the state disciplinary board, the report adds.
- Wang returned to Brigham and Women’s and gained entry to five operating rooms by “tailgating” on authorized staff as they entered the rooms, the Globe explains.
The incident with the Boston hospital's imposter raises questions about security. Tailgating during shift changes is a frequent practice at hospitals and “very difficult to prevent,” Martin Green, president of the International Association for Healthcare Security & Safety and head of security at Baycrest Health Sciences, told the Globe.
Brigham and Women’s personnel are required to routinely scan their identification badges before entering restricted areas, but it’s easy for people to slip through in a group of employees entering the operating room. The hospital has since strengthened its security policy to require that physicians verify with student’s educational institution that they are in good standing, Becker's Hospital Review reports.
Between 2012 and 2014, there was a 40% increase in violent incidents at healthcare facilities, according to Becker’s Infection Control & Clinical Quality. Over 10,000 of those targeted employees.
Unfortunately, impersonating a doctor is not that hard. In February 2016, a Florida eighteen-year-old was caught operating an illegal doctor’s office. He had previously posed as a doctor at two other medical practices.