Former hematologist and oncologist Farid Fata, of Oakland County, Michigan, is serving 45 years in prison as a result of years of fraud and money-laundering. The doctor has faced lawsuits from 43 patients, and has supposedly administered unnecessary treatment to up to 533 patients from his oncology clinic Michigan Hematology Oncology, P.C. Last September, Fata pleaded guilty or no contest to money laundering, conspiracy to pay and receive kickbacks, and health care fraud; still, these counts fail to fully encapsulate Fata's misdeeds.
In the government's memorandum to the public, federal prosecutors found Fata's prescription of over 9,000 unnecessary injections and infusions to 533 patients over six years, treatments which added up to nearly $35 million in insurance billings. The former doctor tricked patients into chemotherapy by claiming they needed “maintenance” for cancers already in remission, or that they required the treatment when observation would've been sufficient. Most villainously, he encouraged patients known to be terminally ill towards the life-draining treatment.
Fata's shameless malpractice has led to a settlement of $8 million, from three hospitals and the oncology clinic. However, as the lawyers on the trial have noted, Michigan's medical malpractice cap of $450,000 for punitive damages, such as pain and suffering, means the potential money available to Fata's victims is likely minimal. There are upwards of 40 civil cases pending against Fata, and without group effort there is little chance money will be awarded through litigation immediately.
Research has shown that doctors frequently escape unharmed from their bad behavior. Though nearly 6,000 doctors had their clinical privileges stripped as a result of misconduct from 2001 to 2011, 52% were never fined or struck with license restriction, suspension of renovation by the state.
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