A Michigan oncologist has been arrested by federal agents and is accused of giving unneeded chemotherapy to patients, as well as diagnosing people with cancer who clearly did not have the condition.
The physician, Dr. Farid Fata, also delayed hospital treatment for people who were very sick so they would use his services first. At least one person died as a result of this delay. Other items on the federal criminal complaint include the following:
- Unnecessary treatment and testing of patients who were deliberately misdiagnosed as having cancer for these purposes;
- Administration of unnecessary chemotherapy to patients in remission and to end-of life patients who would not have benefited from the treatment;
- Fabrication of anemia and fatigue to justify unnecessary hematology treatments;
- Distribution of controlled substances to patients without medical necessity or through administering the drugs at dangerous levels.
The federal criminal investigation of Dr. Fata led to a raid of his home and the multiple facilities in which he practices, called Michigan Hematology Oncology Centers. These Centers are located in Troy, Bloomfield Hills, Sterling Heights, Lapeer, Clarkston and Oak Park.
Dr. Fata’s activities and criminal charges have been profiled on national news and have been shocking people around the country. Dr. Fata’s Centers billed Medicare $35 million over a 2 year period of this healthcare fraud scheme.
Physicians and nurses who worked with Dr. Fata told federal agents that Fata frequently gave patients doses of medication they didn’t need at toxic levels. In addition, he treated patients in office settings as opposed to in the hospital, and he had interns treating a large number of patients. A nurse testified that there were cases whereby Fata would continue to treat patients who had gone into remission with a “maintenance dose” of chemotherapy.
A medical assistant stated that Dr. Fata told her to falsify records and would delay scans for patients at other facilities so he could perform and bill them through his own center.
“Dr. Fata allegedly perpetrated a brazen and dangerous fraud that time and again jeopardized his patients’ wellbeing,” said Acting Assistant Attorney General Mythili Raman. “The conduct alleged today is chilling, with the defendant endangering patient safety through misdiagnosis, over-or mis-prescription of chemotherapy and other treatments, and delay of hospital care for patients with serious injuries.”
“Violating a patient’s trust and placing them at risk through fraudulent abuse of our nation’s health care system is deplorable and a crime which the FBI takes most seriously,” said FBI Special Agent in Charge Foley. “The FBI remains committed to the arrest and prosecution of those who commit health care fraud.”
Dr. Fata, M.D., F.A.C.P. (Fellow of the American College of Physicians) is Board Certified in Hematology and Oncology and specializes in diagnosis and treatment of hematologic and oncologic disorders. He has been in private practice since 2000.
Dr. Fata received a Bachelor of Science from Lebanese University in 1992. In 1996, he completed his Internal Medicine Residency at Maimonides Medical Center, State University of New York, Brooklyn, NY. Fata attended Cornell University Medical College, NY and completed his Hematology Oncology Fellowship at Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center in 1999.
Patients of Dr. Fata have been advised by authorities to get second opinions regarding any health conditions for which they sought his treatment.
HELP FOR PATIENTS TREATED BY DR. FATA
Reiter & Walsh is a Metro Detroit law firm with decades of experience. The firm focuses on personal injury and medical malpractice. If you were a patient of Dr. Fata’s and have legal questions related to your medical care, Reiter & Walsh can assist you. We are happy to answer your questions and help you obtain more information about this case. Please call attorney Jenni Secorski toll-free at Reiter & Walsh PC, 888-419-2229, or email her at [email protected].
“The alleged actions of this physician are deplorable. These patients were in a very vulnerable state and he took advantage of them,” said Rebecca Walsh, Partner at Reiter & Walsh, PC.