Man impersonates doctor, touches woman, police say
MANATEE COUNTY - Authorities say a Bradenton man was pretending to be a doctor when he stopped a woman in the hospital parking lot and rubbed her stomach and thighs on March 10.
Howard L. Lawrence, 30, of the 600 block of 11th Avenue East, was arrested around 9 a.m. March 10 for trespassing on Manatee Memorial Hospital grounds soon after the incident.
The woman -- who was going to the emergency room for leg pain -- reported the incident to Bradenton police officers two days later and picked Lawrence out of a photo line-up.
Lawrence is charged with the unlicensed practice of a health care professional and battery. He is in Manatee County Jail on $2,370 bond.
What the story doesn't say is that the woman's leg pain was cured after Lawrence treated her. The woman claimed that over the last few years she has been to a neurologist, a chiropractor, an orthopedic surgeon, a holistic practitioner and a Haitian voodoo high priestess to evaluate and cure her chronic leg pain.
"This man saw me hobbling through the parking lot at the hospital and told me that he thought he could help me," the woman said. "Now, I've been to all kinds of doctors who said the same thing and none of them did a thing for me."
When asked what the 'miracle cure' was, she said, "It was so simple, I feel a little foolish. When he lifted my skirt to examine my leg, he rolled down my thigh-high nylons and the pain was gone."
"Believe me, when Dr.--I mean, Mr.--Lawrence gets out of jail, I'm going to recommend all my friends go to him for medical care."
As he was being transported to the Manatee County jail, he reportedly checked the sore elbow of a deputy and issued a prescription for oxycodone for the officer. It was not immediately known if Mr. Lawrence would be prosecuted on this charge, as well. Said a Sheriff's Department spokesman, "It probably depends on whether or not the deputy finds some relief from his elbow pain."
Undated photo of (left to right) Dr. Fine, Dr. Howard and Dr. Howard (Lawrence)