Published June 22, 2011
PORTLAND, Ore. – A man accused of posing as a doctor at Oregon Health and Science University in Portland is facing charges after a woman's inquiry about where she should go for a scheduled surgery led to an investigation and arrest.
Lucas Ebert, 21, was charged with criminal mistreatment, theft and practicing medicine without a license in what OHSU officials said Wednesday was a rare case of impersonating a doctor, The Oregonian reported.
No attorney was listed on the Multnomah County jail inmate list showing Ebert in custody, and a Portland police spokesman referred questions to OHSU.
Last week, a 45-year-old woman approached an information desk at OHSU Hospital to ask about her scheduled surgery and said her doctor was Lucas Ebert, according to OHSU officials.
The woman said she had met Ebert a couple times in preparation for her surgery. She'd followed his instructions to stop taking pain relievers and anti-anxiety medications that kept her panic attacks at bay.
Hospital staff could find no record of a Dr. Ebert and began an investigation that resulted in Ebert's arrest Monday, said Jim Newman, an OHSU spokesman.
"I have been here 12 years, and I've never heard anything like this whatsoever," Newman said.
The woman told officials she met Ebert at the Portland VA Medical Center, near OHSU. Ebert arranged a medical consultation with the woman at an OHSU coffee shop, where he proceeded to give her medical advice and counseled her on getting abdominal surgery. He told her he was a second-year resident in plastic surgery, and he wore what appeared to be an OHSU identification badge and a vest with the hospital's name on it.
But officials said the badge may have resembled an outdated one the hospital used 10 years ago and the vest was not issued by the hospital -- it likely came from a gift shop.
An affidavit filed in support of Ebert's arrest says he was seen on closed-circuit television pushing the woman out of the hospital in her wheelchair.
Ebert has no affiliation with OHSU and there was no evidence he had access to any patient information or that he entered any secure areas, which require a special badge with electronic access, Newman said.
"Just like anybody, he could go to a coffee shop or waiting room," Newman said. "But we don't believe he had any access to patient rooms or the emergency department or anything like that."
Ebert's Facebook page lists interests that include plastic surgery, surfing and "Nip/Tuck," the TV show about plastic surgery.
It also lists multiple current employers and universities, claiming work as surgical assistant and surgeon at OHSU, and also lists his job as a software developer at Microsoft. He claims to have a medical degree from the University of California, San Francisco, which on Wednesday said it has no record of any student by that name.
But Maureen Wheeler, spokeswoman for the Beaverton School District, was able Wednesday to confirm one true item on the Facebook page -- Ebert is a 2009 graduate of Westview High School.