17-year-old Imposter Gains Access to Two Hospital

4 Min Read Published April 13, 2023
17-year-old Imposter Gains Access to Two Hospital

Source: KRIS 6 News 

According to a mind-boggling news station investigation, nurses in a Corpus Christi, Texas ICU stopped an imposter who had fraudulently gained hospital access. Then-17-year-old Zachry Brent Bailey was charged with impersonating a traveling physician assistant (PA) and gaining access to two hospitals. 

Court documents show that he waived his right to a jury trial and pleaded guilty to the third-degree felony charge. He was placed on deferred adjudication for six years.

Posing as a medical professional

Investigative reporters from KRIS-TV Channel 6 in Corpus Christi, Texas, aired the story last week, which they compared to the movie “Catch Me If You Can,” starring Leonardo DiCaprio.

KRIS 6 pieced together details from witness statements and documents gathered by Corpus Christi Police Department (CCPD) to tell the shocking tale of a teenager who successfully posed as a traveling PA and hung around hospitals for nearly a month last spring.

In March 2022, Bailey allegedly bought $41 worth of scrubs from Scrubs-R-Us. Then dressed as a medical professional, he drove to Corpus Christi Medical Center’s Bay Hospital, where he went to human resources and pretended to be a PA who needed a badge. According to reports, the human resources staff were out of the office. A volunteer coordinator was manning the desk and made a hospital ID for him.

Source: KRIS 6 News 

The employee who made the ID badge and was later let go told investigators that she noticed he seemed young but “was trying not to hold that against him” and wanted to give great customer service.

Bailey was also able to gain access to Doctors Regional Hospital. Investigators learned he tried getting an ID badge at Driscoll Children’s Hospital but was denied. There, an HR recruiter reportedly told him that he was not on any of the employee lists. Bailey left to “call his recruiter” and claimed he mistakenly went to the wrong facility. 

At CCMC, logs show that Bailey accessed critical care areas, including the emergency room, intensive care units, operating rooms, cath lab, and even newborn nursery. 

Source: KRIS 6 News 

Hospital cameras show Bailey going into doctor’s lounges in plain clothes and exiting in scrubs or physician’s coats that belonged to providers.

Nurses Became Suspicious

Bailey went largely unnoticed and spent weeks hanging around the hospitals from March 31, 2022, to April 28, 2022. Then one night in the ICU, nurses got suspicious. 

“He was talking about his girlfriend and cars and just all sorts of stuff, and the more he was talking about, the more I felt something is not right,” an unidentified CCMC nurse told investigators. “I don’t know if he was specifically asking for access to the computer, but he was just mentioning that he doesn’t have access, and he was asking how you get access.”

Nurses found Bailey’s social media account and realized he was not who he said he was. They reported it right away, and the teenager was escorted out. His badge was disabled, and the police got involved. 

What Happened Next

Here is where the story starts to sound like a movie and the reason it is also trending as #catchmeifyoucan on social media.  

According to KRIS-6, the police had Bailey’s address from a traffic ticket he had received weeks earlier. With a warrant, they searched his apartment and found the badge, a bag of stolen hospital scrubs, and a $52,000 BMW he purchased in an alleged bank fraud scheme. At the time, Bailey was not there. He was with his 15-year-old girlfriend. 

Source: KRIS 6 News 

Days later, the police returned and found that he had moved out, owing $3700 to the apartment complex. Soon after, he was recognized by an off-duty police officer at the Sharp Shooter gun range and was detained without incident. 

According to news reports, at the time of his arrest, he was driving an old Crown Victoria police interceptor with a spotlight and radio. He also had a homemade gun without a serial number, known as a “ghost gun”. Police searched the hotel he was staying at and discovered what they believed to be evidence of his next scheme—to impersonate a law enforcement officer. They reportedly found a bulletproof vest, gun belt, ammunition, and a shirt with the word “sheriff” on it. 

Bailey was arrested but released on bond. He was not allowed to leave Corpus Christi but allegedly traveled to Fort Worth, Texas, in June to visit family. His ankle bracelet alerted law enforcement, and he was arrested again for 192 violations of the GPS tracking system. 

He was released on bond in October and pleaded guilty in December. He was sentenced to deferred adjudication, which means the charge may be removed from his record after six years if he meets the terms of his sentence. The terms, according to court documents, include the following:

  • earning a high school diploma or getting a GED

  • abiding by a curfew

  • completing court-ordered classes 

Source: The.Nurse.Erica TikTok

Bailey reportedly gave an interview to @The.Nurse.Erica on TikTok. Nurse Erica says that he told her his probation officer said he could move out of the state. He moved to Oklahoma but was ordered back to Nueces County in Texas in March 2023. 

In the interview, he went on to say that life is going well now. He has started a couple of businesses and is now engaged to get married. 



Sarah Falcone
Sarah Falcone
Nurse.org Contributor

Sarah S. Falcone, BSN, RN, is a nurse and health content writer in Fort Worth, TX. She has worked in various settings, including Med-Surg and L&D, but home health has her heart. Sarah is a passionate advocate for moving advanced levels of care to the home, where her clients can safely receive medical treatments they need, with greater satisfaction and comfort. She focuses on patient experience, outcomes, and advancing clinical models using innovative technology to serve patients better. Sarah draws from 15 years of practicing patient care and nursing leadership, to share her own nursing experiences and expertise online. Connect with her on LinkedIn!

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