Florida House candidate accused of lying about treating Pulse victims

Elizabeth McCarthy said she was a doctor at ORMC; hospital has no record

By Emilee Speck - Digital journalist

ORLANDO, Fla. - At a town hall on gun violence, Florida House District 28 candidate Elizabeth McCarthy described pulling bullets from dozens of Pulse shooting victims while she was working at Orlando Health Regional Medical Center on June 12, 2016, the night of the massacre. However, McCarthy has never been employed at the hospital that treated a majority of the victims.

The discrepancy was first reported by Scott Powers with FloridaPolitics.com.

McCarthy, a Democrat from Sanford, filed to run for the House District 28 seat, which represents northeast Seminole County. Rep. David Smith, a Republican, who was elected in 2018, holds that seat.

McCarthy previously served in the LGBTA Democratic Caucus.

When U.S. Rep. Darren Soto hosted a town hall on gun safety in March at the East Orlando Valencia College campus, McCarthy was on the panel, along with others, including Osceola Sheriff Russ Gibson.

Introduced by Soto as an “ER doctor who treated some of the Pulse victims,” McCarthy said she was a registered nurse and then decided to go back to medical school at 47 to become a doctor. The night of the Pulse shooting, McCarthy said she "was working at Orlando Health."



"That night of Pulse, I personally removed 77 bullets from 32 people," McCarty said. People at the town hall can be heard reacting with “wow.”

She also brought bullets she said were “extracted from people," but not Pulse victims. All bullets from the scene were collected by the FBI.

“We are never prepared for it. To experience something like this," McCarthy said. "But we’re trained to go into automatic mode, to know what to do.”

A spokesperson for Orlando Health said the hospital has no record of McCarthy as an employee.

According to Florida Department of Health records, McCarthy’s certified nursing assistant license expired in December 2005 and the department has no record of McCarthy being a doctor.

After Florida Politics first questioned McCarthy's record, the Seminole County Democratic Party withdrew its support for her candidacy.

McCarthy declined to comment about her employment history or her campaign.

“I cannot speak about them,” McCarthy said, referring to the allegations of deception surrounding her professional past and credentials. “I’m not allowed to speak about it because it puts my employer in a negative limelight."

Presented with this new information Soto said in a statement to News 6 he is "deeply troubled by these fabrications."

"Our office has adjusted our license vetting protocols as a result of this situation," Soto said. 

A spokesperson for OnePulse Foundation chief executive officer and former nightclub owner Barbara Poma declined to comment for this report.

McCarthy told Florida Politics she is ending her campaign after being confronted with these discrepancies, but in a Facebook post McCarthy vowed to "move forward" and continue with the campaign.

Check back for updates on this developing story.

Copyright 2019 by WKMG ClickOrlando - All rights reserved.