Meet Randy G. Litman, DO
Randy G. Litman, DO, MBA, has been in practice since 1992, and teaching osteopathic, family and internal medicine for more than 20 years. He is a family doctor, and also specializes in internal medicine, with a subspecialty in neuro-musculoskeletal (manual) medicine. Dr. Litman is an osteopathic physician. (Osteopaths are fully licensed doctors, practicing in every area of medicine, with an emphasis on a whole-person approach to care.) He is also program director of the Family Medicine Residency Program at Einstein Medical Center Montgomery.
You can see Dr. Litman at Montgomery Family Practice, 1330 Powell Street, Nicholas and Athena Karabots Medical Building, Suite 409, in Norristown, Pa. 19401.
Q: Please tell us about the Family Medicine Residency Program.
A: Well, we have a need here. There’s a diverse community in Norristown. We’re right across from the former site of Montgomery Hospital, and approximately 45 percent of our patients are of Latino origin, and the majority of that number communicate in Spanish as their primary language.
This population has needs that are perhaps greater than the general population, especially in terms of treatment of sugar, lipids, and heart disease, and even treatment of psychosocial disorders, so we’re bringing in a residency program to create an outreach to this population.
Twenty-three percent of this practice is also geriatrics. Most of these people are natives of Norristown and Montgomery County, and have been coming to this location for generations, all the time that it was part of the Montgomery Family Medicine program that was started here back in the 1970s by Dr. (William) Rodgers.
They’re accustomed to a teaching program, they’re accustomed to having their special interests in mind, and they’re accustomed to having care where they live. With that, our program is aimed at bringing these people in, and providing them with what they require.
Q: Tell us how you gravitated toward medicine. How did that happen?
A: Oh, that’s an easy one. First of all, I grew up as a doctor’s brat. My father (Benjamin) was a doctor in West Philadelphia most of his life. He actually had a concept for bringing all of the disciplines of medicine under one roof. He started a little community hospital in West Philadelphia. I was born there. I got to see firsthand what it was like to visit homes. I made house calls when I first got into practice, too. I also saw what it was like, and how hard a job it was for a physician to work 20 hours a day.
I had an occasion when I was in practice to get a call from one of my father’s old patients thinking he was still alive—she saw the name in the phone book. I went up and made a house call on her, and she said, “You got skinnier. And, where’s that little boy who used to carry your bag for you?” Which was myself. So I sort of got raised into doing that. My father died young. He was only 58 years old. I delayed my education due to his passing, but I ultimately gravitated back, and I wanted primary care just like he did.
Q: Tell us about that little hospital that’s not there anymore.
A: It was called the Wynnefield Hospital, and it was only a 15-bed hospital. It was a site for primary care to be reached by the locals. They walked to the hospital. And even after it closed, my father saw patients on the first floor of the building until he was too ill to practice anymore.
Q: What is so appealing to you about primary care?
A: It’s medicine from the heart. It’s more about quality than quantity. You’re becoming, at least for a point in time, a member of that patient’s family. When a patient is nearing the climax of their life, you’re being a bridge to comfort at times. You’re keeping them in the loop so they can achieve some of their aims before it is their time. At the same time, you’re preventing issues that will give them more time to have some enjoyment. You’ll also, from the other end, get the enjoyment of watching the kids grow. It’s a kind of practice where you’ve got to know a lot of things. You have to know a little about a lot, but at the same time you have to be a person, and I try to pass that on to the people I teach just how personal, and up close it is. That’s what appeals to me.
Q: Where did you go to medical school?
A: I went to the Philadelphia College of Osteopathic Medicine. I’m a DO (Doctor of Osteopathy). My father (an MD, or medical doctor) was very, very much aligned with the DOs in the sense that he had DOs on his medical staff. He believed in the philosophy, so it was not a far stretch for me to go and do that.
Q: What is your favorite book?
A: My favorite book is “Caesar’s Gallic Wars.” I read it in the 8th grade in Latin. I had a translation; I didn’t read it all in Latin.
Q: Why that book?
A: I think it was because I was taking Latin, but it was really the idea of looking at things from the perception of the historian. What do I really love? I love Shakespeare. I love “King Lear.” I love “Merchant of Venice.” I love “Romeo and Juliet,” and “Hamlet,” of course. The stories, the time, that period for me I guess is the thing I loved the most. Tom Sawyer, Huck Finn, I was raised on those. I loved all the baseball heroes. I read Babe Ruth, Lou Gehrig, all those things. I’m not into computer books. I’ve got to have a real book in my hand, and I can just sit and lose myself in a story, and I won’t drop it until it’s done.
Q: What is your favorite movie?
A: I guess my favorite movies are the Rocky series because he represents the underdog—not that I thought there was any great acting there. It wasn’t that. He was the underdog, and I liked the spirit.
Q: What might people not know about you?
A: It’s been a long time, but very few people would know that I used to sing publicly. In fact, I was cantor in several of the churches around here for quite a while before medical school. I actually got started singing when I was about 4 or 5 because my father was the personal physician to many of the priests in the Archdiocese of Philadelphia. We would go from church to church, sometimes in the evenings, to visit the clergy. I got started in a choir and sang ever since. It was always choir music. I never did anything else.