Sisters Kayla and Kellie Bingham are more than just identical twins, they are best friends. Growing up, they shared a dream of becoming doctors and helping people. After college, they devoted hours to studying and passing their Medical College Admission Tests, and both were accepted to the Medical University of South Carolina (MUSC).
It seemed like all of their dreams were coming true. They were both at medical school, working to achieve their goals, and the title of Medical Doctor seemed like just one more thing they would have in common.
Twin Sisters Battle School’s Claims In 2016
But in their second year of medical school, their dreams of becoming doctors came crashing down. Kayla and Kellie were taking a test in May 2016, seated at the same table but about 4-5 feet away from each other. Unbeknownst to the twins, their behavior during the exam was being closely monitored. A faculty member was remotely supervising the test from a computer and asked a proctor to keep an eye on the two. The proctor noticed that the two women were moving at nearly the same speed through the test. The watchers noted the Binghams were also giving the same incorrect answers, which sent up alarm bells.
And the exam proctor later noted that the twins both “nodded their heads during the examination, and occasionally pushed back from their computers, looked around the classroom, or shuffled their scratch paper.”
Two weeks later, the women were accused of cheating by the school. They ardently defended themselves to the school’s Honor Council, saying that they were just nodding at their computer screens, not each other. After an initial guilty finding, a dean reversed the decision and said that the women were innocent of cheating.
Here’s an image of the sisters celebrating the fact that they’d become clinical students from Kellie’s Facebook back in June 2016.
Incident Causes Sisters To Leave School
But the damage had been done. The Honor Court proceedings were not kept confidential and somehow leaked to the entire student body. Exacerbating the issue, some students believed the Binghams had connections in high places that resulted in their reinstatement. Instantly, Kayla and Kellie became ostracized on campus, with other students being openly hostile to them.
“It happened wherever we went,” Kayla told Insider. “People would gossip about us and we’d get a cold reception. It got to the point when we had to order delivery because we couldn’t go to restaurants anymore.”
The situation became so unbearable that both women quit medical school, following advice from a dean.
“It honestly killed me,” Kellie told Insider. “I’d dreamed about being a doctor since I was little — Kayla and I wanted to help people.”
In this 2015 Facebook post on Kellie’s page, the sisters are pictured with a pet:
Binghams Bring Defamation Case But Move Forward
But, after leaving MUSC in September 2016, they decided they weren’t going to go down without a fight. The twins brought a defamation lawsuit against the university the following year, saying that their reputations were unduly harmed without cause.
It took five years, but finally, the Bingham sisters have cleared their names: A Charleston, South Carolina court recently decided that the Binghams did not cheat on the test and that the school was in the wrong for putting them through such public scrutiny and destroying their reputations. The sisters were awarded $1.5 million ($750,000 each) in damages.
Many experts testified during the trial on the women’s behalf, including Nancy Segal, a psychologist who specializes in the study of twins and genetics.
“They are genetically predisposed to behave the same way,” Segal told Insider. “They’ve been raised the same and are natural partners in the same environment.”
A former professor of the women also spoke up, saying that they had given nearly identical answers in the past even when they were nowhere near each other.
Segal says she would have been surprised if this wasn’t the case, and that she would expect to see similar scores in twins like the Binghams. She also said that it is common for identical twins to be accused of cheating, due to the fact they often give similar answers to tests or use the same wording on papers.
Here the two are at a University of South Carolina game in 2019.
In other words, great minds really do think alike, especially when it comes to identical twins. And while the Binghams might have quit medical school, they found a new dream to share: They both went on to University of South Carolina Law School, and yes … they graduated with almost identical GPAs and now work at the same law firm in South Carolina doing the same job.