A former Democratic candidate for the Florida House seat in Seminole County has admitted to investigators that she lied about her profession, and masquerading as a doctor was something she invented, thus violating state law.
Elizabeth McCarthy, 50, had attended political events in her bid for Florida House seat District 28, a seat currently held by Republican David Smith, where she carried out her impersonation of an esteemed member of the medical profession. McCarthy said she had attended to the Pulse nightclub shooting victims in Orlando, where she boasted of having removed dozens of bullets from victims. “I personally removed 77 bullets from 32 people. … It was like an assembly line,” she told people at a gun safety gathering.
McCarthy claimed she was a doctor at the Orlando Regional Medical Center, and it was there that she treated 32 shooting victims after the June 12, 2016, massacre, where 49 people lost their lives and 53 were wounded after a gunman went on a shooting spree.
“It is a false statement. I just made it up,” McCarthy told investigators after she was exposed. Her claims were investigated by Florida Politics in June, with the Florida Department of Health bringing her false claims to light—they had no record of her as a medical doctor.
“I wanted to be somebody in the community, and I’m sorry,” she said, to the Department of Health officials, as reported by the Orlando Sentinel, “I’m sorry that I gave any impersonation. I knew it was wrong and I should have stopped.”
McCarthy admitted she had been deceiving the public since 2014, and even Democratic U.S. Rep. Darren Soto had introduced McCarthy as a doctor on at least two occasions.
At an event at Valencia College on March 21, Osceola County Sheriff Russ Gibson and Pulse survivor Ricardo Negron were also present when McCarthy stood in front of the audience and described her part in the emergency room saga of the Pulse nightclub shooting, “It was like an assembly line,” she said describing the victims. “The hardest part for me was wheeling a body into the morgue and hearing the cellphones ring of the people that passed.”
“That night, because I’m gay, it struck me even harder,” she said, “Because these were my people.”
At first, McCarthy disputed the allegations, and said in a Facebook post according to Florida Politics, the questions about her background were just “campaign smearing.”
“I did think about shutting down my campaign after this attack I was not ready for. I am not going to do that,” McCarthy said, “I have a passion for legislation, apparently not up to snuff on campaigning but I am learning. I am MOVING FORWARD.”
Soto has since released a statement, stating he is “deeply disappointed by Ms. McCarthy’s sick fabrications,” according to the Orlando Sentinel, and McCarthy has plans to drop her bid for the Seminole seat, with officials from the Seminole County Democratic Party saying they won’t be supporting her bid.
McCarthy could be fined $1,000 plus costs of around $2,000 for her deceitful ploy.