Man injected babies while posing as doctor
By Stephen Moynihan
May 28, 2004
A man posed as a doctor and treated 100 patients, including a seven-month-old baby, while working at an Altona medical clinic, the Melbourne Magistrates Court was told yesterday.
Mark Collier, 35, of Melbourne, pretended to be a doctor and was employed at the Civic Parade Medical Centre in Altona, where he worked for four days last September, the court heard.
Collier, who has not entered a plea, was described as "a depressed and lonely man".
He was alleged to have given prescriptions to 38 patients and also vaccinated infants while working at the clinic. Collier signed the prescriptions, calling himself Doctor Mark Hatzikostantinous.
He faces almost 60 charges relating to assault, prescribing medications, theft and burglary.
Collier, a telemarketer who has no medical qualifications, also masqueraded as a doctor at the Royal Melbourne Hospital, using a stolen staff identification badge. He also pretended to be a doctor at the Royal Children's Hospital.
The court heard that Collier walked about the hospitals wearing a white doctor's coat with a stethoscope and the stolen ID badges around his neck on more than 10 occasions between October and November last year.
Collier attempted to obtain official hospital identification and also joined the hospitals' libraries.
In May 2003, Collier stole medical certificates and pathology slips from St Vincent's Hospital.
Shortly before the alleged incidents, the court was told Collier approached the owner of the Altona clinic in a city pub and told the man he was a doctor. He was offered work at the surgery.
While working illegally at the Altona clinic, Collier administered an immunisation injection to a one-year-old. When the child's mother was told that Collier was not a doctor, she was "horrified" and scared for her daughter's wellbeing. In another incident, Collier prescribed the wrong medication for a two-year-old girl with mouth ulcers.
The day after the appointment, the child's mother took her daughter to hospital, where she was told the medication was wrong.
The court was told that all the victims were shocked and horrified when told that Collier was not a doctor.
Collier's defence lawyer, Peter Cash, told the court "you can't shrink from the fact that the results could have been catastrophic". Mr Cash said there was a significant degree of premeditation in his client's actions and that Collier was lonely and depressed and "hasn't got a friend in the world".
"His main desire was to be important for a week... to have people call him 'doctor'," he said.
The court heard that Collier had become depressed and disillusioned after the death of his partner last year.
Magistrate Lisa Hannan described Collier's actions as "a gross breach of the public's trust". "Anyone in the community knows we place our trust in medical practitioners," she said.
She extended Collier's bail and ordered him to undergo a psychiatric and psychological examination before appearing in court again in July.