State Watch

Former state House candidate says she made up story about removing 77 bullets from Pulse shooting victims

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A former Democratic candidate for the Florida legislature has admitted she made up a story about removing bullets from victims of the Pulse nightclub shooting, according to The Washington Post.

Elizabeth McCarthy told an audience in March that at the time of the 2016 shooting, she was working as an emergency room doctor and removed 77 bullets from 32 people. Three months later, the news outlet Florida Politics reported that she had never been licensed to practice medicine in the Sunshine State.

{mosads}McCarthy this month told investigators with the Florida Department of Health, “I just made it up,” the Post reported on Monday.

Florida Politics reported that McCarthy claimed to be a cardiologist at Orlando Regional Medical Center, where most of the Pulse victims were treated. But the hospital’s parent company, Orlando Health, had no record of a doctor with her name working there.

McCarthy first explained the discrepancy by saying she worked for Florida Heart Group of Orlando, even though that company also reportedly had no record of her.

Health Department records indicated McCarthy had been a registered nurse until her license expired in 2005 and later started a company called Medical Concierge, but was never licensed as a doctor, according to the Post.

McCarthy initially denied inventing the story and said she was the victim of “campaign smearing,” but in June, the local Democratic Party said it would not support her unless she could prove she was a doctor.

“We asked for any kind of transcripts, diplomas, anything like that, that could explain what she did,” Seminole County Democratic Party Chairwoman Brittany Nethers told the Orlando Sentinel at the time. “She pretty much said that she doesn’t need to provide us with anything.”

Floridians, including survivors of the shooting, have called on McCarthy to drop out of the race, with Rep. Darren Soto (D-Fla.), who introduced her at the event where she first shared the story, condemning her “sick fabrications” through a spokesperson.

McCarthy withdrew from the race on June 28, but may still be exposed to legal liabilities, as misrepresenting yourself as a doctor is illegal in Florida, according to the Post, leading to the investigation in which McCarthy admitted to making up the claim. She faces up to $3,095 in fines for the misrepresentation.

The Post said McCarthy could not be reached for comment on Sunday evening. The Hill was unsuccessful in its attempts to contact McCarthy on Monday.

Tags Darren Soto doctor Elizabeth McCarthy Florida Pulse nightclub shooting

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