The famous poem “No Man Is An Island” essentially says that no matter what we may believe, no one is entirely self-sufficient. Especially in modern society, we all depend on various specialists to do things for us. The most obvious and necessary example is our doctors.
With your doctor, you’re literally trusting them with your life. Naturally, it’s a good idea to be a little bit picky when choosing a physician. When the truth came out about one particular ‘doctor,’ a lot of people wished they had done a bit more research…
One of the first things people take into account when they’re considering a doctor is age. There are advantages to having a younger doctor. They tend to have less of the “I’ve seen it all” mentality,” which makes them less likely to jump to conclusions. They’re also a bit more likely to go the extra mile for their patients.
That being said, many people prefer older doctors exactly because they’ve seen it all. It is a lot more reassuring being someone’s 1,000th patient rather than their 1st. When you consider that most folks would rather have an older doctor, it seems like experience goes a long way…
But the patients of one particular Florida doctor definitely didn’t have that preference. If they did, they’d go running from the office the moment they saw ‘Dr. Love.’ In addition to having a name like a cheesy radio DJ, Dr. Love-Robinson was a baby-face to say the least.
There was a good reason for Dr. Love’s cherubic features. According to the website of his practice, the New Life New Birth Medical Center in West Palm Beach, he was just 25 years old. At an age where most doctors are just starting their residency, he had already started his career in earnest…
Dr. Love’s biography described him as a “well rounded professional” who utilized “physiological, psychological, and mechanical methods” to treat his patients. Aside from conventional medical techniques, he also used air therapy, water therapy, phototherapy and other kinds of “nature’s remedies.”
He seemed to be a fairly competent doctor, with a number of regular patients. And like most doctors with a private practice, he was making excellent money, far more than most 25-year-olds. But while it seemed that he was in an enviable position, not all of Dr. Love’s patients were satisfied…
One such patient was an 86-year-old woman who’d brought Dr. Love into her home for a house call after she’d been suffering from sharp stomach pains. After an examination, the young doctor diagnosed the elderly woman with arthritis and sold her some natural vitamins as treatment. He would return to her home for 4 more checkups before she realized something was wrong.
Where’d They Go?
The 86-year-old noticed that a number of her personal checks had gone missing and, after narrowing down the possibilities, she believed Dr. Love was responsible. She went to the local Sheriff’s Office and they began to investigate Love-Robinson for pilfering over $34,500 from her…
In the course of investigating the youthful professional police discovered not everything about him was as it seemed. The first of 2 major bombshells was that Malachi Love-Robinson wasn’t 25 years old as it said on his website. Shockingly, he was just 18 years old.
Second and even more outrageous, the ‘doctor’ wasn’t a medical doctor at all. Love-Robinson had gotten his doctorate in divinity from the online Universal Life Church Seminary for the low, low price of $29.95…
It had all been a sham. The would-be “Doogie Howser” had been masquerading as a medical professional, performing exams — including gynecological exams — and providing advice and “treatments” with no more medical expertise than you would pick up in a high school biology class.
In order to catch him in the act, one member of the Sheriff’s Department went undercover to Love-Robinson’s office, posing as a person in need of a medical exam. As soon as he performed the charade of a check up, the Sheriff clapped him in irons…
But for all the medical advice Love-Robinson had given and for all the things he’d done to suggest he was a medical doctor, he never explicitly claimed to be one. Nowhere on his website or in his office was there any reference to his attending medical school or having any medical credentials.
You’ve Got It Wrong
“This was not about me trying to hurt people, this was not about me trying to say I’m a medical doctor,” Love-Robinson said. “Because, honestly, people have misconstrued my name, they misconstrued my age, they’ve misconstrued where I’m from, they’ve misconstrued everything about me.”…
But for all of his talk of things being “misconstrued,” the truth of the matter was Love-Robinson had donned a lab coat and stethoscope and acted as a doctor, misleading all of his “patients” and taking their money to do so.
Don’t Blame the Victims
Those people he’d fooled weren’t necessarily to blame. “A lot of people don’t know the difference when someone says ‘doctor,’ whether it’s between a doctor of divinity and a doctor of medicine,” said Marshall Kapp, director of Florida State University’s Center for Innovative Collaboration in Medicine & Law. They didn’t know the DD, for doctor of divinity, after his name was significantly different from MD, for medical doctor…
And while Love-Robinson was careful not to indicate he was a medical doctor on his website or in his office, he had applied for a National Provider Identifier, or NPI number, that would allow him to bill insurance companies and in that process, claimed to be an MD. A number of websites that list doctors pull their information from the NPI database, meaning he was listed as an MD all over the internet.
Facing Hard Time
Love-Robinson was arrested and charged with practising medicine without a license and a number of related charges, as well as for stealing the 86-year-old woman’s money and identity. For all of the crimes he’d committed, he was facing a potential 90 years in prison…
Quit While You’re Behind
The teenager who was smart enough to masquerade as a doctor was also smart enough to give up the lie when he was caught. Love-Robinson’s lawyer worked out a plea deal where, in exchange for a guilty plea, he would serve just 3-and-a-half years in prison and pay back over $80,000 of money he’d stolen and conned people out of.
While what Malachi Love-Robinson did is far from the norm, it serves as a powerful warning. Rather than blindly trusting the various specialists we depend on — mechanics, tech support guys, doctors and others– it’s always a good idea to do a little checking into their background.