Former House Candidate Admits to Lying About Being a Doctor, Treating Pulse Nightclub Shooting Victims

NTD Newsroom
By NTD Newsroom
July 21, 2019Politics
Former House Candidate Admits to Lying About Being a Doctor, Treating Pulse Nightclub Shooting Victims
In this July 11, 2016, file photo, visitors at a makeshift memorial outside the Pulse nightclub, the day before the one month anniversary of a mass shooting, in Orlando, Fla. (AP Photo/John Raoux, File)

A former Democratic candidate for a seat in the Florida House of Representatives has admitted to lying about her education and career, and most notably, of being a medical doctor and saving victims of the Pulse nightclub shooting.

One of Elizabeth McCarthy’s most dramatic claims was that she was a doctor and had personally removed 77 bullets from 32 victims of the Pulse nightclub shooting while working at the Orlando Regional Medical Center on June 12, 2016.

It was “like an assembly line,” McCarthy said at a town hall meeting at Valencia College’s East campus arranged by Democratic Representative Darren Soto (D-FL) on March 21.

“That night because I’m gay, it struck me even harder because these were my people. The hardest part for me was wheeling a body into the morgue and hearing the cell phones ring of the people that passed,” she said, according to the Orlando Sentinel.

McCarthy, 50, was running for House District 28 in which covers parts of Seminole, Florida.

McCarthy joined Soto for a second news conference in Saint Cloud on June 14 to talk about health care issues. There, the Democratic lawmaker introduced her as “a cardiologist with Orlando Health, a longtime adviser on health care for me, and also a doctor who showed her mettle and heroism after the Pulse nightclub shooting,” reported Florida Politics, which first broke the story.

Florida Politics sought to confirm the claims made by McCarthy but instead found that no record of her having a license as a doctor exists, according to the Florida Department of Health.

The hospital where McCarthy claimed to have worked as doctor the night of the Orlando Pulse nightclub massacre also said there is no record of the former candidate ever  having worked there, reported the newspaper.

After the reports were published, the Department of Health launched a formal investigation into the matter.

McCarthy went on to defend herself in a lengthy June 17 Facebook post, calling it “campaign smearing.” She also said—undaunted—that she would persist.”

“I did think about shutting down my campaign after this attack I was not ready for. I am not going to do that,” McCarthy wrote in the post. “I have a passion for legislation, apparently not up to snuff on campaigning but I am learning. I am MOVING FORWARD.”

However, “After thoughtful contemplation, due to professional obligations, I am withdrawing as a Democratic candidate seeking the nomination and election in Florida House District 28,” McCarthy wrote in an email to Florida Politics, though she did not admit to having made false statements.

McCarthy eventually admitted to lying about her background after a Florida Department of Health investigator Rafael B. Aponte questioned her on July 7.

“It is not true,” she said regarding her claims of being a medical professional and having attended three medical universities. She also admitted to lying about working as a doctor and treating victims of the Pulse nightclub shooting in Orlando. “I just made it up,” she said, according to an affidavit.

“I was portraying a life that wasn’t true and wanted to be somebody in the community, and I’m sorry, I’m sorry that I gave any impersonation, I knew it was wrong and I should have stopped, by no means did I ever mean to put anybody in jeopardy,” McCarthy told investigators, according to the affidavit.

The Democratic party, including co-runner-up Lee Mangold, have since dropped their support for McCarthy’s candidacy, Florida Politics reported.

Soto’s office said the lawmaker introduced her as a doctor because he believed McCarthy’s claims about her background. Later, Soto said he was “deeply disappointed by Ms. McCarthy’s sick fabrications,” reported the Orlando Sentinel.

McCarthy has been fined a total of $3,094.95 for committing the third-degree felony of representing herself as a medical professional without being licensed. A cease-and-desist order prohibiting her from spreading lies about her alleged medical background has also been put into effect.

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