A woman who pretended she was a doctor, dressed up in scrubs and a stethoscope and offered help to patients with ovarian cancer, HIV and fertility issues has admitted she was completely unqualified to dole out health advice.
Dalya Karezi garnered 243,000 followers on TikTok and 20,000 on Instagram as ‘Dr Karezi’, offering health advice to women and others about a large variety of serious health issues and diseases between 2019 and 2021.
The 30-year-old claimed to have a doctor’s ‘MBBS’ degree and ran the letters after her name. She claimed she was a specialist in the women’s health practices of obstetrics and gynaecology.
In emails, she used the titles RMO and VMO, standing for resident medical officer and visiting medical officer.
Her TikTok videos and posts on Instagram, which were hashtagged #doctor and included images of her dressed in scrubs, have since been deleted, and she also promoted face masks online.
But on Wednesday she pleaded guilty to to impersonating a doctor and pretending to be a medical specialist at the Downing Centre Court in Sydney.
Dalya Karezi garnered 243,000 followers on TikTok and 20,000 on Instagram as ‘Dr Karezi’, offering health advice to women and others about a large variety of serious health issues and diseases between 2019 and 2021
Dalya Karezi (pictured with bogus ‘Dr’ nametag) advised millions on TikTok and Instagram about serious diseases such as ovarian cancer and HIV
Magistrate Theo Tsavdaridis told the court when convicting Karezi: ‘In my view these are fairly serious matters. The improprieties in holding herself out (as a doctor) were extensive, prolific and pervasive’.
Of her multiple posts on social media, he said ‘Some transcended the boundaries … (she) offered advice on ovarian cancer, Covid … for people’s toddlers, for uterine fibroids, contraception, paracetamol overdose (while) wearing scrubs and seen with a stethoscope round her neck.’
In one image, His Honour said, Karezi had a nametag with ‘Dr’ on it and in other posts she claimed to be an expert about ‘sexual health, alcohol and drugs, testosterone, … this was during lockdown when people were confined to their homes.’
As ‘Dr Karezi’, she was extremely popular in the Iraqi and Kurdish communities in western Sydney, of which she is a member and also worked as an advocate.
She even won awards for her work in a campaign called ‘Shisha, No Thanks’ to discourage the use of Middle-Eastern water smoking pipes for health reasons.
Fake doctor Dalya Karezi (right) exits the Downing Centre Court where she has pleaded guilty to impersonating a doctor and pretending to be a medical specialist
Posing as ‘Dr Karezi’ she was popular on TikTok and Instagram doling out health advice to women and pretending that she was an obstetric and gynaecology specialist
Karezi’s guilty plea also comes after a prosecution by the Australian Health Practitioner Regulation Agency (AHPRA), where she pleaded guilty to offences of impersonating a health practitioner and having used a name or title when not permitted to do so.
Those offences relate to 21 emails Karezi sent between July 2019 and April 2021 in which she indicated she was authorised or qualified to practise in the medicine – even though she has never been registered with the Medical Board of Australia.
Karezi’s lawyer, Erasmus Lovell-Jones, said his client had only worked in research roles for NSW Health and the NSW Cancer Council and had since completed a Bachelor of Medical Science and Master of Reproductive Medicine degrees.
Mr Lovell-Jones argued that she had ‘psychological fragility’ from a traumatic childhood, having spent four years in refugee camps in Iran, on her way from Iraq to Australia.
Asking for no conviction – because it would affect her job with her current employer Commonwealth Bank of Australia – he said in her false application posing as a doctor to work at the Cancer Institute ‘at no stage was she was putting herself in the position of treating patients’.
In emails, Karezi used the titles RMO and VMO, standing for resident medical officer and visiting medical officer.
The bogus ‘Dr Karezi’ (left) impersonate a medical specialist on TikTok and Instagram, as well as working for NSW Health and the Cancer Council
Dalya Karezi (above, outside Westmead Hospital) has never been registered as a doctor and pleaded guilty to faking her status
He said regarding her fake posts on TikTok and Instagram, including posing in bogus medical scrubs : ‘She was endeavouring to repackage already available health information.
‘There was an element of self-promotion. Totally inappropriate, but she was in her mid-20s, and suddenly given attention on social media’.
He added that Karezi has now ‘engaged in rehabilitation’.
The maximum penalty for her offences, increased since 2019, are $60,000 per offence, including potential jail time of up to three years.
However Magistrate Tsavdaridis sentenced Karezi to a Community Corrections Order for two years and fined her $13,300.
Source: | This article originally belongs to Dailymail.co.uk
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