One of the most infamous medical malpractice cases in history was sentenced in court earlier this month. A Michigan doctor was taken into custody in 2013 for purposely misdiagnosing several patients with cancer for his personal financial benefit. These patients have suffered unnecessary chemotherapy and radiation as well as emotional, financial, and physical pain as a result of his actions (See more at USA Today). Dr. Farid Fata, a Detroit hematologist-oncologist pleaded guilty to giving cancer treatments to intentionally misdiagnosed patients. He was found guilty of 12 counts of Medicare fraud, one count of conspiracy to pay or receive kickback and two counts of money laundering. He purposely misdiagnosed some patients with a terminal blood cancer called multiple myeloma. In reality, some of his victims had milder forms of cancer while others had no cancer at all. According to authorities, Fata approximately 553 patients received medically unnecessary infusions or injections because of Fata’s intentional misdiagnosis, earning him $17.6 million from Medicare and private insurance companies. Federal prosecutors were seeking a 175-year sentence and called Fata “the most egregious fraudster in the history of this country” and to him “patients were not people. They were profit centers.” Fata received a 45-year prison sentence July 11 in a Detroit federal court. According to CNN, Fata gave an apology in court: “I have violated the Hippocratic oath and violated the trust of my patients,” he said. “I do not know how I can heal the wound. I do not know how to express the sorrow and the shame…The quest for power is self-destructive. They came to me seeking compassion and care. I failed. Yes, I failed.”
Victims of Misdiagnosis Suffer Emotional, Physical, Financial Trauma
Many of Fata’s victims were present for his hearings in the U.S. District Court of the Eastern District of Michigan throughout the week. To them, whose lives were devastated and health compromised because of his actions, an apology does not mean much. Many will continue to live with the effects of chemotherapy and other cancer treatments, which can be dangerous and permanently damaging if medically unnecessary. Robert Sobieray received chemotherapy from Fata for two and a half years. It was later discovered he had never had cancer. Sobieray went to Fata and was given chemotherapy treatments for two and a half years. But he never had cancer. The treatments were physically painful and sickening, so intense that his teeth continued to fall out until he had only one left. He couldn’t afford dental care because of the medical bills from Fata’s treatments. Patty Hester became a patient of Fata because he came highly recommended and she heard he was one of the top doctors in his field. She visited him merely for an opinion on her low white blood cell count, and he diagnosed her with myelodysplastic syndrome. He recommended she start chemotherapy immediately, but fortunately for her she had doubts. After some debate, Fata instead recommended iron treatments and later expensive blood plasma treatments. It was later discovered that Hester never had cancer. Chris Sneary is one patient that actually did have cancer, though not as severe as was diagnosed. Sneary was treated for testicular cancer with chemotherapy, hydration therapy and many other procedures. It was later discovered that Sneary had received extreme overtreatment, both more expensive and intense chemotherapy and treatments than medically necessary. One of the treatments even involved the unneeded removal of a testical. Fata’s victims will be able to file claims for a chance to be awards some of the money he collected from their Medicare and insurance companies.
Find a New Jersey Medical Malpractice Lawyer
If you or a loved one has suffered as the result of a misdiagnosis, we recommend you consult with a skilled lawyer. Any misdiagnosis can come with devastating health and financial issues, but the emotional burden is always worse when the doctor acted intentionally. Patients trust doctors to honestly treat and heal to the best of their ability. To violate this trust for personal financial gain is horrible act of injustice and abuse of power. Victims of medical malpractice such as misdiagnosis should seek the advice of a knowledgeable lawyer in order to take the first step towards justice. New Jersey residents can find an experienced, local attorney through The Hayes Firm today. We are a free lawyer finding service and our main goal is to connect victims with the counsel they need. We will first review your case as soon as possible and determine whether legal action is realistic. If your situation could benefit from an attorney, we will connect you with one near you. Contact The Hayes Firm for a free recommendation today.