The 'Surgeon' Who Looked Too Good

Tall, imposing and glib, Adam David Litwin, 27, showed up at UCLA Medical Center in January 1999 and successfully passed himself off as a resident in surgery for nearly six months. With his stethoscope and lab coat, Litwin looked every inch the model of a bright young surgeon-in-training--although he never spent a day in medical school. To support the impersonation, prosecutors say, Litwin stole a parking pass, patient records and X-rays. He seemed to be a brilliant bluffer. Reprimanded by a nurse when he walked into an operating room without a scrub suit, Litwin said, "Well, get me a scrub suit," and avoided discovery.

His fantasy unraveled after someone noticed his unusual lab coat. Litwin's had his name silk-screened on the pocket and a picture of Litwin himself. "Nobody has a coat like that," one physician says. In a case filed April 7, Litwin faces nine misdemeanor charges, including impersonating a doctor, forging prescriptions and theft. A relative had no comment, and UCLA insists that "Dr. Litwin" never actually treated patients--fortunately for them.