A Michigan oncologist who gave $US35 million in needless chemotherapy to patients — some of whom didn’t even cancer — will likely spend the rest of his life in prison.
After an emotional week of testimony from 22 of his victims, a federal judge sentenced physician Farid Fata to 45 years in prison, NBC News reported. He’ll also give up $US17.6 million in cash, according to The Detroit News.
Fata scammed more than 500 of his patients, according to court papers cited by NBC, either by misdiagnosing them just so he could bill healthcare companies or 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.
“They came to me seeking compassion and care. I failed them,” Fata told US District Judge Paul Borman, during his sentencing, according to NBC. Fata pleaded guilty in September to 16 counts, including fraud and money laundering, the Detroit Free Press reported.
For example, Barbara Laboissonniere’s father Sydney 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 told Fox.
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 did have his supporters, though. Theresa Pickering, one of the his patients, wore a “Cancer sucks” T-shirt to the beginning of the trial in 2013. 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.
Regardless, US Attorney Barbara McQuade described Fata’s behaviour as “the most serious fraud case in the history of the country,” while Borman described his crime as “huge” and “horrific,” according to NBC.
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