An 18-year-old charged with posing as a doctor told ABC News that “just because someone has a title ‘doctor’ in front of their name does not necessarily imply M.D.”
Malachi Love-Robinson, who police say posed as a medical doctor and treated patients in West Palm Beach, Florida, said his training involved shadowing many doctors. “I’m not portraying as an M.D. I never said I’ve gone to school to be an M.D.,” he told ABC.
He said he had a Ph.D., but wouldn’t disclose what field it was in.
The interview aired on “Good Morning America” on Thursday.
Sheriff’s deputies in West Palm Beach arrested Love-Robinson on Tuesday afternoon and accused him of practicing medicine without a license. He was the head of his own practice, according to his website. Love-Robinson posted bail on Wednesday, according to the Palm Beach County Sheriff’s Office.
The sheriff’s narcotics unit, along with the Florida Department of Health, carried out an operation in which an undercover officer visited Love-Robinson’s office, according to a statement from the sheriff’s office.
Love-Robinson physically examined the officer and provided medical advice, said the statement, which detailed a nearly two-week investigation that culminated in Tuesday’s arrest.
As police led Love-Robinson out of his office in handcuffs, he said, “I’m hurt because of the accusations and allegations. But like I said, this is not the first time where I’ve been accused and I will pursue this. And when I do, you guys will know,” according to CNN affiliate WPBF.
The website for Love-Robinson’s practice lists the teen as its president, CEO and founder. It refers to Love-Robinson as “Dr.” and places acronyms after his name, including Ph.D. and HHP-C, which is used for those involved in home health and personal care. A Ph.D. is generally not a medical degree.
While Florida licenses medical doctors, it does not issue licenses for naturopathic doctors, or those who reject the use of medicines, Florida Department of Health spokesman Brad Dalton told CNN.
“When he crossed the line and started giving a physical and offering to treat the undercover agent, we were able to issue him a cease-and-desist for the unlicensed practice of medicine,” he said.
It’s not the first time Love-Robinson has run into trouble. After a tip to police, the Florida Department of Health filed a cease-and-desist notice in October accusing him of practicing medicine without a license, Dalton said.
Love-Robinson described himself as a “well rounded proffessional” (his spelling), according to his profile on HealthGrades.com, which has been removed since his arrest. The listing states that he is 25 years old.
“I utilize physiological, psychological, and mechanical methods, such as air, water, light, heat, earth (to treat patients),” the profile said.
HealthGrades says the information was supplied by or on behalf of the provider.
A Facebook event shows a January 16 “grand opening celebration” for the New Birth New Life Medical Center, which is at the same address where the arrest was made Tuesday.
New Birth New Life’s website indicates at least two other people worked at the office.