true crime

Dayla Karezi's medical advice was viewed by millions. But she isn't a real doctor.

With post views over 15.5 million and more than 1.5 million likes, ‘Dr Dayla Karezi’ was going viral on TikTok.

The 30-year-old’s social media posts - offering advice on topics such as paracetamol toxicity, HIV, ovarian cancer, and testosterone - were clearly resonating. 

The problem was, Dayla isn’t actually a doctor. Despite the crisp scrubs and stethoscope casually hanging around her neck; despite the forthcoming health advice, Dayla has no medical qualifications whatsoever. In fact, the only thing she's ever studied, is a few subjects of a health science degree. 

As a result, Sydney-based Dayla was charged with and pleaded guilty to two charges of using the name, title or symbol of a health practitioner while not being registered. She faced a maximum penalty of a $60,000 fine and jail time.

Broad deception.

It all started when an acquaintance mistakenly believed Dayla was studying medicine, not health science. Instead of correcting them, Dayla played along, and soon found the deception was benefiting her. From there, things snowballed. 

As well as her viral TikTok posts, Dayla posted on Instagram too, with at least one appearing to be part of a paid partnership. 

She also used her fabricated qualifications to apply for several jobs, eventually being offered project co-ordinator roles with both NSW Health and the Cancer Institute of NSW. 

While neither organisation required medical registration, both believed Dayla had a bachelor of medicine from Western Sydney University. 


During her stint with NSW health, Dayla brazenly sent emails claiming a variety of different medical titles, escalating in seniority over time, including doctor, MBBS (Bachelor of Medicine), master of reproductive medicine, visiting medical officer, resident medical officer, even an obstetrics and gynaecology registrar.

Image: Instagram

Why did she do it?

When it comes to the motivation behind Dayla’s deception, opinions differ. Her defence lawyer blamed it on “a degree of immaturity” and an “underlying psychological fragility which made it difficult for her to say no in social situations”.


Her lawyer also claimed the social media posts, which spouted information gathered from other sources, was a misguided attempt to share important information with her followers - despite an “element of self promotion”. 

But the prosecutor argued Dayla’s actions went “far beyond” an ability to say no. 

Over 16 months, Dayla posted 80 social media posts deliberately misrepresenting herself as a doctor. But she wasn’t just sharing health information and medical advice. Dayla also used her posts to promote surgical scrubs, nail police and face masks during the peak of Covid pandemic, suggesting a less noble motivation for her deception. 

But psychotherapist, Dr Karen Phillip, says it is possible that Dayla believed she was capable of being an effective doctor. 

“It’s a psychological issue," she says. 

"(They believe) the fact they lack the qualification does not prevent them from acting as if they are fully knowledgeable and qualified," says Dr Phillip. 

“Often the person does know they do not hold formal qualifications, yet in their mind, believe they have experience and knowledge to do a professional job. Hence why they come across so convincingly.”

That self-belief risks escalation to a potentially dangerous level, especially if the person starts giving personalised advice. 


“It’s lucky that she has been caught to prevent her from doing harm to further people.”

Clinical Psychologist Pheobe Rogers says Dayla's motivation could be more self-serving, suggesting entitlement and total disregard for others. 

"It seems to be a boost to her ego or sense of self, perhaps bringing her admiration and a sense of importance," she says, highlighting the potentially dangerous consequences for her unsuspecting followers. 

"The consequences are vast, including endangering members of the public, and vulnerable individuals who don’t know how to discern what constitutes correct, and ethical health advice. 

"It can delay treatment, or cause anxiety and worry if taken in the wrong context."


Image: Instagram

The court response.

After pleading guilty to offences the judged called “extensive, prolific and pervasive”, Dayla was ordered to pay more than $13,000. She was also given a two-year community correction order and ordered to pay costs of $13,300 to the Australian Health Practitioner Regulation Agency. 

The judge said Dayla’s posts came when people depended heavily on the internet for information, due to Covid lockdowns.

He said TikTok was used primarily by young people who are “bombarded with information, not always from authoritative sources”, and most would have believed Dayla's content was “coming from someone who was qualified, trained and experienced”. 

She took her deception a step further, he said, by offering not only medical advice, but specialist advice, including about ovarian cancer and Covid. 

“The defendant is someone who ultimately paid the price, as it were, by virtue of an enormous amount of humiliation and shame — which she brought upon herself.”

Feature image: TikTok

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