A teenager who escaped prosecution for impersonating a police officer is now accused of violating the Health Practitioners Act by pretending to be a doctor and is being held without bail at the Richmond Prison.
19-year old Akim Andrew from the village of Loretto in St John, was detained by police at St Paul’s, St George’s almost five months ago, after it was reported that he was offering medical services and treating members of the public.
He appeared in the St. George’s No.1 Magistrate’s Court Tuesday charged with four counts of practicing Medicine without being registered and two counts of Fraud by false pretense, by offering himself as a medical doctor without the proper licence, contrary to the Health Practitioners Act.
The teenager, who has admitted to his actions, was engaged in writing prescriptions, giving medicine to people and even requesting referrals from those whom he treated and charging a fee.
During the time that he impersonated a medical doctor, Akim made house calls in St Paul’s, Woburn and other areas in the country.
The daughter of a woman whom he treated was suspicious of the medicine he prescribed and went in search of him, and eventually made a report to the police.
When detained, the police found medical equipment and supplies, including blood pressure testing machines, stethoscope and glucose testing kits in his possession.
Andrew served a four month sentence for stealing a desk from Divine Medical Clinic in St Andrew where he had also been employed.
His lawyer, Jerry Edwin explained that the desk had been used by Andrew in his fake medical practice which he continued after serving his sentence.
According to reports, Akim had set up offices in St George’s and Belle Isle, St David.
Andrew is cooperating with the police and is to provide a list of people he treated. That list could be in the thirties. Among them is the mother of a St George’s Magistrate.
Attorney Edwin said, “Mr. Andrew has admitted that there are upwards of thirty people that he has treated as a doctor”.
Acting Chief Magistrate Teddy St Louis said it is important to have a full account of the people who sought medical attention from the teenager so that they can be warned of the developments and advised to seek proper care from a certified doctor.
Edwin said that his client has taken his conduct “to the very edge of the professional services without being qualified to do so”.
If Andrew is found guilty of the charges against him for violations under the Health Practitioners Act, he can be fined a maximum of $20, 000 and jailed for a maximum of two years.
The fraud charges carry a maximum penalty of two years imprisonment.
Andrew has been described as a troubled youth by people who know him from childhood and especially during the years when he was a student of the St John’s Christian Secondary School.
The teenager is said to have held a fascination for law enforcement and hung around the fire service officers at the Gouyave police station when he lived in Loretto.
His behaviour was described by one person as “a cry for help” and his lawyer said he will be asking the Court for a psychological evaluation of his client.
“I think the criminal justice system is not the right place to resolve his issues,” Edwin said, adding that his client is not a criminal.
“In this case, this young man is not a criminal. He is misdirected and his energy ought to be channeled in a different direction.”
Andrew had been able to fool officers at the South St George Police Station into believing that he had been transferred from another station and had actually participated in police operations before they became aware of him.
A police source said Andrew had not been prosecuted for impersonation of a police office because after investigating and interviewing the young man it was determined that his actions had harmed no one and he had no “bad intentions”.
Andrew’s family, a sister, brother and his mother were in the Courtroom Tuesday as he was remanded to prison until January 28.
Up to August of 2019, Andrew was posing as a health insurance salesman, offering coverage for overseas medical transport.
The Landlord where he operated on Gore Street said he told her that he was connected to St George’s University (SGU), a claim which turned out to be false.
The “fake doctor” reportedly left his landlord with a $10, 000 rent bill and almost $1000 in phone charges when he was sent to prison last year for stealing.
Andrew is not the only person known on the island that paraded as a fake doctor.
Last year, this newspaper exposed a government minister, Senator Winston Garraway as posing with a Doctorate that was given to him by a religious body in the United States that is not authorised to give such degrees.