Adam Litwin: Jailed as a fake doctor, now a real doctor (True story)

He went to jail as a fake doctor. Now he is a real one: The story of Adam Litwin.

Adam Litwin’s “jail to hospital story” was first shared on Twitter by a health reporter called Soumya who knows him personally and also interviewed him.

Her tweets: 

This man went to jail in 2000 for pretending to be a surgeon at UCLA. In the two decades since, he has gone to medical school and become a doctor.

Adam Litwin wants to be a doctor more than I have wanted anything in my life. As a teenager, he carried a pager and would page himself pretending to be the hospital. When he met his now ex-wife, he told her he he was a cardiologist, though he hadn’t finished undergrad.

He’s a doctor now, and won’t let you forget it. Unprompted, he emailed me photos of him in a white coat. More than once, he texted me the phrase “doctor’s orders!” When we met in Chicago, he wore a fleece that was far too thin for the cold but was embroidered with “A. Litwin, MD”

Litwin still has to get into residency. He didn’t this year. But at 47, he isn’t giving up hope. There is no Plan B. “I have persevered and I have struggled to be who and where I am today way too much and come much too far to give up now,” he says.

Adam Litwin
Adam Litwin standing tall in a hospital – a fulfilled dream
Credit: LA times

I think it’s hard to know how to feel about Litwin from hearing his story. I will say that after talking to him for several months, I think he’s a lot like Michael Scott from the Office. Aaaand I’ll leave it at that.

Our own @montemorin wrote about what happened with Litwin at UCLA way back when. The weirdest detail is Litwin’s white coat. it had his face on it! “Nobody had a coat like that,” said the deputy city attorney. “It was like he was trying to be noticed.”

Some collaborating snippets from Dr Adam Litwin as culled from the LATIMES….

Wearing a surgical gown and a mask, 9-year-old Adam Litwin watched in awe as his grandfather, a podiatrist, mended a fractured foot.

“I was just mesmerized,” Litwin recalled. “I literally knew from that moment on that there was nothing else I wanted to do with my life.”

He began to ask for medical posters and textbooks for his birthday. He had his own stethoscope. In his teens he wore a beeper and paged himself, pretending the hospital needed him to consult on a patient.

Decades later, Litwin, now 47, has finally achieved his dream. He graduated from a medical school in the Caribbean last year and passed the final board exam required to be a doctor.

Adam litwin MD
Adam, vowed to pursue his dream of practicing
Credit : LA times

Though Litwin must still complete some training and licensing before he can treat patients on his own, he is an MD in the United States.

But to accomplish his goal, he first had to get past the time 20 years ago when he went to jail — for impersonating a doctor at UCLA. He at age 28,  pleaded guilty to three misdemeanors: forging a prescription, impersonating a doctor and stealing state property.

The way Litwin tells it, he ended up at UCLA because he was blinded by his love of medicine.

“Have you ever wanted something so badly in your life, and you knew you were never going to get it? What it would be like, what it would feel like to be that person, even if just one day?” Litwin said.

But his past continues to impede him.

Missouri’s medical board denied his application for a license last year, saying it did not believe he could have spent so much time pretending to be a resident at UCLA and not have treated patients.

“The lack of complete forthrightness about the incident in the UCLA Medical Center reflected negatively on your credibility and weighed against a finding of sufficient rehabilitation,” the denial letter reads.

Litwin has vowed to appeal the decision and not give up hope to practice the profession of his dream-Medicine. 

Adam Litwin’s story was shared on Twitter by Soumya,  a health reporter who knows him personally  and works for Los Angeles Times.

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