Sham medic jailed

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The Independent Online
Orlando (AP) - A Miami man was sentenced to seven years in prison and his wife was given two years' house arrest for running a sham medical practice that sent an unlicensed doctor to treat a holidaying British girl who later died.

William Villafana, 32, was sentenced to seven years in prison, eight years on probation and ordered with his wife to pay $11,000 (pounds 6,800) to the victim's family to cover funeral and trial costs. Marlein Villafana, 24, was ordered to spend two years under house arrest and given eight years' probation.

The pair were convicted last month of manslaughter of Rebecca Richards, 11, and practising medicine without a licence.

Rebecca, from Rotherham, South Yorkshire, went to Orlando, Florida to visit Walt Disney World with her family in 1993. On the flight over, she became ill.

The family contacted the Villafanas' medical practice, which sent Amrishkumar Patel, an unlicensed doctor, to treat the girl for a sore throat.

Thirty six hours later she died of complications from undiagnosed diabetes. The court was told that Rebecca would probably have lived if Patel had ordered proper tests.