If your fake breasts were implanted by a fake doctor, will you be forced to go back to wearing falsies? That’s just one of the many questions patients of Dr. Matthew Mode (not his real name) are asking after Romanian border police stopped Matteo Politi (his real name) trying to leave the country after it appeared he was about to be exposed for faking his medical school credentials and operating on people for over a year as a plastic surgeon at multiple clinics in Romania. Would Vlad the Impaler be impressed with this new technique?
“I’m not running, but I prefer not to tell you where I am.”
Is that the Romanian form of “I didn’t do it and I’ll never do it again if you just let me go”? For now, it’s all the former patients and colleagues of Dr. Mode/Mr. Politi have to go on. Libertera was the first Romanian media source to report the story after an in-depth investigation which followed Matteo Politi back to his native Italy where he was convicted in 2011 for … you guessed it … lancing and lacerating without a license. With his false credentials, he managed to operate at several Italian hospitals and train other plastic surgeons before getting caught and thrown in jail for life.
Ha – you caught me! Not-a-doc Politi got merely a slap on his untrained wrist, threw his scalpel at a map and ended up in Romania – a place with a past full of people prone to drawing blood under false pretenses. Changing his name to Dr. Matthew Mode, he managed to get hired by at least four clinics and one hospital in Bucharest by bragging about studying at UPMC Presbyterian Shadyside Hospital and Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine in the U.S., flashing a fake diploma from a facility in Kosovo, and hiring a lawyer who he claimed had all of his papers and certified he was legitimate. As a foreign doctor, he was supposed to get approved by the Public Health Directorate (DSP). The investigation found that he indeed received the seal to practice from an employee who has admitted that “she did it out of pity.”
All together now … yikes!
As in Italy, Dr. Mode managed to impress the right people – not just the patients he was giving breast implants to. Not only was he hired by at least four clinics and a hospital, one of them even used him in advertising videos – showing him injecting Botox into a patient. So, how did Dr. Mode/Mr. Politi finally get caught? Leave it to the nurses.
“I saw the surgeon walk into the operative group with his hands down and not up, just like the procedure! I got up when I saw he did not know how to put on his gloves!”
Anyone who has ever watched a TV medical show knows that doctors, after thoroughly scrubbing their hands and turning the faucet off with an elbow, walk into the operating room holding their arms above their waists with elbows bent and hands pointing skyward. The nurse who caught that was willing to give the foreign doc the benefit of the doubt until he put his gloves on the wrong way. At that point, she filed a report and Politi made a run for the border.
To its credit, the Public Health Directorate has admitted the story is true and is issuing updates as more information becomes available. In the meantime, the handsome doctor is in hiding. (Photos of the dreamy fake doc here.)
Is this a trend? Earlier this week, news broke of an arrest in Russia of a convicted murderer and former mental patient who was working at a hospital as a general practitioner before being recognized by one of his own doctors.
If you can’t trust your doctor, who can you trust for medical advice or surgery? Are we heading back to the days when barbers were also the local surgeons? Based on some of the intricate new hairstyles, that may not be a bad idea.