An actor who was hired by the University of Virginia to play a patient so he could be "diagnosed" by medical students turned out to actually have the deadly condition he was pretending to have.

Jim Malloy was tasked with presenting the symptoms for an abdominal aortic aneurysm — "a condition in which a small section of the lower aorta begins to balloon," according to a UVA press release.

The condition often goes undetected and can quickly become fatal if the aneurysm bursts.

Medical student Ryan Jones was examining Malloy when noticed that the actor actually seemed to have an abdominal aortic aneurysm — for real.

"I said, 'I think I found an aneurism,'" Jones told WDBJ, "and he played along because that's his job and so I'm like 'Does he actually know he has this?'"

"He thought I might have been a ringer that was planted in there to test him, and I had no symptoms," Malloy told CBS News. "He thought I was a plant with the real situation."

The physician in charge of the practice session recommended to Malloy that he see a cardiologist, and, sure enough, Jones' diagnosis proved correct.

Malloy underwent surgery and is now back to full health.

"Jim's life was saved by a UVA medical student, no doubt about it," Malloy's wife Louise is quoted as saying.

"I was surprised to learn what had happened," said Jones. "It feels great to know that I made a difference."

This is Jones last year of medical school. He is currently in the process of interviewing for a slot in a residency program with an eye toward ultimately becoming a radiation oncologist.

[screengrab via Seinfeld, photo via UVA]