A Michigan oncologist has been charged with giving $US35 million in needless chemotherapy to patients — some of whom didn’t even have cancer, The Today Show reported.
Popular physician Farid Fata, who had more than 1,000 patients, allegedly misdiagnosed people with cancer just so he could bill Medicare.
He’s also accused of giving chemo to “end-of-life” patients who wouldn’t benefit and had to endure the treatment’s nasty side effects during their final days.
Fata, 48, is charged with submitting $US35 million in false Medicare claims to the federal government.
“If he did commit these crimes, then I think the word ‘monster’ is a very good description for him,” Jeff Berz, the son of one of Fata’s patients, told the Today Show.
On Tuesday, federal judge Sean Cox set Fata’s bail at $US9 million, The Associated Press reported.
The allegations against Fata portray him in awful light.
Barbara Laboisonniere’s father Sydney allegedly received chemo he didn’t need from Fata, Fox News reported. Doctors originally told Sydney, diagnosed with pancreatic cancer, to enjoy his last four to six months with his family. Fata, however, allegedly promised to prolong his life to 12 months. After aggressive rounds of chemo with only week breaks in between, Sydney died on the experimental treatment.
“The way my father died was very unnecessary and very traumatic for my family,” Laboisonnier said.
The FBI also alleges that after one patient fell and hit his head in Fata’s office, the doctor told him he should complete chemo before going to the hospital, according to the AP. The patient reportedly died from his head injury.
Fata does have his supporters, though. Theresa Pickering, one of the Fata’s patients, wore a “Cancer sucks” T-shirt to his trial Tuesday. Originally diagnosed as an end-of-life patient, she credits Fata with keeping her alive during her four-year battle with throat cancer, the Detroit Free Press reported.
Fata’s lawyer told the Free Press there’s no evidence of Medicare fraud.
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