A cancer diagnosis can change your whole life. Between chemotherapy, radiation, and surgeries the treatments for various cancers can be extremely grueling. Some terminal patients choose to forgo these treatments if they will not be life-saving due to the extraordinary effect they can have on a patient’s quality of life. That’s what makes the story of Dr. Farid Fata so horrifying. This doctor has pled guilty to fraud for fraudulently administering chemotherapy after leading them to believe they were sick. This case of extraordinary medical malpractice shows how much we rely on medical professionals to be competent and honest and how severe the consequences of health care provider error or intentional misconduct can be.
Treating Healthy Patients for Serious Illness
NBC News reports that Michigan doctor Farid Fata was misdiagnosing patients with cancer and then administering unnecessary treatments costing the patients both their savings and their health. The doctor told the patients that they had life threatening cancers that they did not actually have. For example, the doctor diagnosed sixty-two-year-old Robert Sobieray with a rare blood cancer and then administered both chemotherapy and radiation treatments. These treatments caused Sobieray to twitch uncontrollably and caused him to lose his teeth.
Once police arrested Fata, Sobieray went to a different oncologist. That new oncologist told him he had never even had cancer. Meanwhile his medical bills were so high that he has not been able to afford false teeth. This has seriously impacted his ability to eat. Prosecutors allege that Sobieray was only one of 553 people who received unnecessary cancer treatments because of Fata. This amounted to 9,000 unnecessary injections or infusions, costing patients and insurance companies millions of dollars.
Court Sentences Fata to 45 Years in Prison
Fata pled guilty to fraud for his extraordinary misconduct. Prosecutors asked that he be sentenced to 175 years in prison. The court sentenced Fata to 45 years in prison. Since Fata is age 50, this may mean he will spend the rest of his life or most of the rest of his life in prison. He pled guilty to 13 counts of medicare fraud, one count of conspiracy to pay or receive kickbacks, and two counts of money laundering according to CNN. He was also required to forfeit $17.6 million he collected from insurance companies and Medicare.
Some Patients Did Have Cancer
Some of Fata’s patients did have cancer. Fata treated Chris Sneary for testicular cancer from which he actually suffered. But once police arrested Fata, Sneary learned that he has been wildly overtreated. He had been given more and harsher chemotherapy than was necessary in addition to other unnecessary treatments. Another of Fata’s patients who actually had cancer, Donald Crabtree, died last December. In a statement he wrote before his death he expressed that he believed that Fata “knowingly and purposely treated [him] for the wrong cancer and gave [him] the wrong treatment.”
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