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Teenage imposter gains access to two Corpus Christi hospitals

Teenager given a badge at CCMC and had free reign of many of the hospitals most critical areas
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Posted at 8:49 PM, Apr 03, 2023

CORPUS CHRISTI, Texas — For nearly a month, teenager Zachry Bailey posed as a medical professional and gained access to two Corpus Christi hospitals.

An investigation by the Corpus Christi Police Department revealed that is just one thing Bailey faked.

6 Investigates obtained witness statements and documents gathered by CCPD during its investigation of Bailey.

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Zachry Bailey pleaded guilty to the third-degree felony of acting as a physician's assistant without a license.

Those documents reveal what police say was bank fraud to purchase a $52,000 BMW in March 2022. Bailey drove that car from Missouri to Corpus Christi two days after the purchase to visit his 15-year-old girlfriend.

Police in Missouri have an open case investigating the alleged bank fraud, but said they could not share information on that case because Bailey was a minor at the time of the incident.

In Corpus Christi, 6 Investigates found his story began at a local retail shop, Scrubs-R-US.

According to CCPD and court documents, Bailey purchased $41 worth of scrubs from Scrubs-R-Us. After having these scrubs in hand, his next stop was a Corpus Christi hospital.

It was at Corpus Christi Medical Center's Bay Area Hospital that Bailey, dressed in scrubs, asked for a badge. Documents and witness interviews state he claimed to be a traveling Physician Assistant.

That request came when the hospital's primary human resources staff were not in the office. The volunteer coordinator was manning the office and the desk that makes the badges.

During an interview with CCPD, this volunteer coordinator said she had reservations about making a badge for Bailey, but was told to make badges for staff as requested.

"They basically beat it into our heads that we needed to be all about customer service, so I was like, okay if you send me a picture, then I can get your badge started for you," said CCMC's former volunteer coordinator.

KRIS 6 News is withholding the names of hospital staff interviewed by police to respect the privacy of these current and former employees. 6 Investigates reached out to Bailey and CCMC, but both refused to comment.

That same CCMC employee told investigators that she informed her supervisors about the incident the same day, especially with Bailey's apparent age, but nothing came of it.

"I've known people that are very young, one they just don't age hardly at all, and two they are just really smart so they can get through college faster, so I was trying to not hold that against him," she told police.

With a badge in hand and disguised as a medical professional, Bailey was able to access two Corpus Christi Medical Center Hospitals in Corpus Christi, including Bay Area and Doctors Regional. Investigators also discovered he tried to obtain a badge from Driscoll Children's Hospital but was denied.

CCPD spoke with an HR recruiter assistant at Driscoll, who said Bailey called and then showed up to the office seeking a badge claiming to be a traveling physician assistant.

That HR recruiter said Driscoll has no such position and that he did not appear on any list for employment. She said that once he was notified, he stepped out of the room, Bailey said he called "his recruiter" and then claimed to be at the wrong hospital.

Armed with a badge to CCMC, badge swipes show he accessed the emergency room, intensive care units, operating rooms, catheterization laboratories, and nursery units at Bay Area and Doctor's Regional.

Those badge swipes also indicate he was denied access to other areas of the hospitals, including the operating room locker room, physician's parking gate, physician's parking, and operating room control room.

"I don't know what his motive would have been with babies, but I mean like ya, it's scary he could even get up there. It's definitely not comfortable knowing that someone was able to do that," a CCMC nurse said while being interviewed by CCPD. "Those PAs (physician assistant), they can diagnose, they can write orders, they can do treatments, they can do procedures. What if they give you some random medication for a patient and it harms them?"

Hospital surveillance video shows Bailey entering into doctor's lounges and changing rooms in one pair of scrubs or just plain clothes and exiting in CCMC scrubs or doctor's coats belonging to others.

Using his scrubs and badge from CCMC, police say Bailey also gave false information to obtain residency at an apartment complex, stating that he made $28,000 a month.

Staff at the apartment told 6 Investigates he would frequently come in in the scrubs, bringing gift baskets, including Apple watches and other goodies.

Ultimately the frequent hospital visits caused his story to unravel.

From March 31st to April 28th, he came and went without anyone seeming to notice, that is until one night he decided to hang around the intensive care unit.

"He was asking them about other doctors that work there, talking about the other nurses, talking about his girlfriend and cars and just all sorts of stuff, and the more they were telling me he was talking about the more I felt something is not right," said a CCMC ICU Nurse. "I don't know if he was specifically asking for access to the computer, but he was just mentioning that he doesn't have access, which you need a 3-4 ID and he was asking how he gets access."

In another instance, he even made a slip-up, which wasn't caught initially, but in hindsight, one nurse said it appeared something just wasn't quite right.

"He said it was a community college by Mizzou called Stevens Collage. In the moment, I was like oh cool. In the moment, I had forgotten that Stevens College is actually an all-girls school," said one of the ICU nurses. "He is saying he's a PA, that he is Dr. Gleeson's PA, that he is going to come do our procedures. I was like, the kid looks 12 years old. I just don't believe anything he's saying."

After this interaction, and a quick search by the nurses of Bailey's social media, they determined he was not who he said he was, he was escorted out, and his badge access was disabled.

"I feel bad because I kinda fell for it, I was like oh ya, because who does that? Who has the idea to go into the hospital and be like I'm going to be a doctor today," said the ICU nurse.

The volunteer coordinator that issued the badge was fired that week, another consequence of Bailey's actions.

"I knew that I was the person that issued the badge, and what goes through my mind is were any patients harmed? How bad is it for the hospital?" said the former Volunteer Coordinator during a police interview.

Now it was up to CCPD investigators to track him down. Police knew he was living at Encore 2 apartments due to a traffic violation he received weeks earlier.

Officers decided to make contact with Bailey but did not yet have a warrant for his arrest.

He was with his 15-year-old girlfriend, whose mother told officers, "This sounds like a movie."

Officers then impounded Bailey's BMW, took back the CCMC badge Bailey was using to access the hospitals, and recovered a bag of scrubs the detectives said were stolen.

Detectives checked up on the apartment days later only to find that he had moved out, leaving a $3700 bill with the complex. After gathering all the evidence, interviewing witnesses, and acquiring a warrant, police were ready to make an arrest.

It all went down at The Sharp Shooter after an off-duty officer recognized Bailey at another gun shop.

He was detained without incident but had in his possession a "ghost gun" which was described as a homemade gun without a serial number.

These types of guns are legal in Texas for people over 21.

Police said Bailey was driving an old Crown Victoria police interceptor with a spotlight and radio similar to what law enforcement uses.

After searching the hotel he was now staying at, investigators found a bulletproof vest, a gun belt, ammunition, more stolen scrubs, and a t-shirt with the word "sheriff" written on it.

Investigator's notes say that because of all this, they believe Bailey was "preparing to impersonate a peace officer since his PA impersonation was revealed."

Bailey was arrested in June, and after being released on bond, he was arrested again just a month later after 192 violations of a GPS tracking system.

From there, he was released on bond in October and in December, pleaded guilty to two third-degree felonies, including that of acting as a physician assistant without a license and forgery of documents.

Sentenced with deferred adjudication, Bailey will have the conviction removed from his record after six years, as long as he meets the terms of his community supervision.

Among those terms include completing a GED, or earning a high school diploma, adhering to a curfew, and completing several classes.

Those terms include reporting to a community supervision officer once a month. Bailey requested his supervision be transferred to Oklahoma, but before that transfer was approved, he left Texas.

6 Investigates discovered Bailey was living in Oklahoma City in violation of his terms of community supervision.

Social media videos show a new apartment, flashing cash, and a new ring, and in at least one video, he is still donning scrubs.

6 Investigates contacted the community supervision department, who thought Bailey was in Corpus Christi.

After discovering he had left the state and moved to Oklahoma, he was ordered to return to Nueces County and last month went before District Court Judge Nanette Hasette. Bailey was told to remain in Texas until given permission to move out of state.

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