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WOMAN IMPOSTER DOCTOR GETS JAIL TIME

A WOMAN who told her unsuspecting friends and neighbours that she was a doctor because she wanted to ”feel special” has been jailed for nine months.

Nora Zacardas convinced staff at Royal Prince Alfred and St George hospitals that she was an intern at Liverpool Hospital so she could view their medical procedures and scans.

Even her GP, who had been treating Zacardas for more than 15 years, offered her a job once she finished her medical training.

In handing down the prison sentence yesterday, magistrate Louise McManus said Zacardas had ”narcissistic, histrionic and antisocial personality traits” and was a ”risk to the community”.

The Downing Centre Local Court was told her neighbour Anne Papoutsis took advice from Zacardas about her chronic gynaecological problems and allowed her to watch as she was examined and treated while naked from the waist down at St George Hospital.

Zacardas then took gloves and medical equipment to help Ms Papoutsis perform the procedure at home. ”Your actions were a gross breach of trust,” Ms McManus said.

In May, Zacardas pleaded guilty to three counts of holding out to be a registered medical practitioner under the Medical Practice Act. In the mid 1990s, she was convicted of falsely acting as a psychologist and charging patients thousands of dollars in consultation fees.

The court was told her latest deception began to unravel when her close friend and Ms Papoutsis’s mother, Irene Zakis, contacted the former Medical Board of NSW following a tip-off, and discovered Zacardas had no medical training and had never worked at the hospital.

Outside the court, Ms Papoutsis said: ”I trusted her as a doctor. She was giving me advice. She told me not to have certain surgeries done. I feel manipulated and really used.”

Mrs Zakis said Zacardas examined her bowel and abdomen and accompanied her husband, Stephen, to hospital to see a lung specialist who, believing her to be a medical student, took her through Mr Zakis’s scans. ”She’s a con artist,” Mrs Zakis said.

Zacardas’s barrister, Julieanne Levick, told the court that after the death of her brother in 2009 ”Ms Zacardas was feeling not special and her underlying personality traits emerged, and she called herself a doctor to feel more special in herself”.

Ms McManus said Zacardas was at a high risk of reoffending and ordered her straight into custody. An appeal on the sentence will be heard next month.


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