Hamman, an airline captain who lives in Michigan, claimed...
As a cardiologist and United Airlines
captain, William Hamman
taught doctors and pilots ways to keep hearts and planes from crashing.
He shared millions in grants, had university and hospital posts, and bragged of work for prestigious medical groups.
An Associated Press story featured him leading a teamwork training session at an American College of Cardiology convention last spring.
But it turns out Hamman
isn't a cardiologist or even a doctor.
The AP found he
had no medical residency, fellowship, doctoral degree or the 15 years of clinical experience he
attended medical school for a few years but withdrew and didn't graduate.
His pilot qualifications do not appear to be in question - he holds the highest type of license a pilot can have, a Federal Aviation Administration spokeswoman said.
However, United grounded him in August after his
medical and doctoral degrees evaporated like contrails of the jets he
He resigned in June as an educator and researcher at William Beaumont Hospital in Royal Oak, Mich., after a credentials check revealed discrepancies, a hospital spokeswoman said.
Doctors who worked with the 58-year-old pilot are stunned, not just at the ruse and how long it lasted, but also because many of them valued his
work and were sad to see it end.
"I was shocked to hear the news," said Dr. W. Douglas Weaver, who was president of the cardiology group when it gave Hamman a training contract for up to $250,000 plus travel a few years ago.
Now, groups that Hamman
worked for are red-faced that they hadn't checked out the tall, sandy-haired man who impressed many with his
commanding manner and simple insights like not taking your eyes off a patient while talking with other team members about what to do.
did not return several phone calls and e-mails seeking comment.
"It's Mr. Hamman's
desire that he
clear up any misconceptions about his
background that he
Hamman does have an associate's degree in general aviation flight technology and a bachelor of science degree from Purdue University.
also has "type ratings" to fly half a dozen very large commercial planes, according to the FAA
United would not discuss his
job history, citing employee confidentiality.
But the company confirmed that he
is not currently authorized to fly.
Hamman lives in Michigan and is based in Chicago.
As long ago as 1992, an FAA workshop listed Hamman
as an M.D. from United's
flight center in Denver.
In an interview last year with Cath Lab Digest, a publication for heart specialists, Hamman says that being a doctor may have "opened up some doors at United, and I ended up as manager of quality and risk assessment."
In 2004, he joined Western Michigan University, a Kalamazoo school with a big aviation program in nearby Battle Creek, as co-director of its Center of Excellence for Simulation Research.
resigned June 15.
After fessing up, Hamman asked the AMA and the cardiology group to let him continue, saying, "the work is the work."