A doctor from Detroit, Michigan who misdiagnosed patients with cancer, giving them unnecessary chemotherapy treatment in order to claim millions in health insurance has been sentenced to 45 years in prison.
Around 553 patients received unnecessary infusions or injections from Dr Farid Fata. In September, the 50 year old haematologist-oncologist pleaded guilty to giving cancer treatments to misdiagnosed patients, telling some that they had a terminal blood cancer called multiple myeloma.
Feta also pleaded guilty to 13 counts of Medicare fraud, one count of conspiracy to receive payments and two counts of money laundering.
He was forced to forfeit $17.6 million that he had amassed from Medicare and private insurance companies.
Fata delivered an emotional apology in court as he was sentenced to over four decades in prison.
According to CNN Fata turned to face those who were at his sentencing and apologised saying: “I have violated the Hippocratic oath and violated the trust of my patients. I do not know how I can heal the wound. I do not know how to express the sorrow and the shame.”
Federal prosecutors called the doctor the “most egregious fraudster in the history of this country” saying that for Fata “patients were not people. They were profit centres.”
Fata, who lived in a large mansion in the upmarket area of Oakland Township ran seven clinics across Eastern Michigan.
The court herd that Fata administered “stunning” doses of the strong and expensive drug Rituximab to his patients exposing them to life threatening conditions.
According to Dr Dan Longo, a Harvard medical professor, the drug can weaken the immune system if overused.
The drug, which is usually given up to eight times for aggressive lymphoma was given to one patient 94 times and another 76. Overall there Fata gave out over 9,000 unnecessary injections.
Robert Sobieray, who was given chemotherapy treatments for two and a half years from Fata despite never having the form of rare blood cancer he was diagnosed with told NBC that the expensive treatments caused his teeth to fall out and his body to twitch uncontrollably.
“I have so much hatred towards Fata. His name causes an instant headache,” he said, “He gets my stomach turning.”
Other victims developed brittle bones and fried organs, while others lost their homes and jobs and were forced into bankruptcy.
Fata is expected to serve at least 34 years of his sentence, possibly in a low-security prison in Michigan.
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