The National Cancer Institute estimates that approximately 8 million Americans alive today have a history of cancer. Receiving a cancer diagnosis is devastating and frightening for the patient and their family. Treatment for cancer can be very painful and can make a patient extremely sick. Treatment includes surgery, radiation, chemotherapy, bone marrow transplants, hormones, and immunotherapy.
For nearly 3 years, a Clarkston, Michigan woman believed she had a potentially incurable form of cancer. Patty Hester is one of many people who were intentionally misdiagnosed by hematologist/oncologist Farid Fata. For the last few years, the oncologist pressured her to undergo costly and invasive forms of treatments, continuously reminding her that if she didn’t die from leukemia, she would die from a secondary infection unless she received a bone marrow transplant.
Hester was told she had Myelodysplastic Syndrome (MDS), which is a type of cancer formerly called preleukemia. MDS is a collection of blood-related medical conditions that involve ineffective production of a certain class of blood cells that help produce bone marrow and spinal cord cells. Patients with MDS can develop severe anemia and often require blood transfusions. In some cases, MDS can cause patients to have low blood counts caused by progressive bone marrow failure. MDS is a precursor to leukemia with no cure. Hester underwent unnecessary IV treatments, all of which were performed at Fata’s clinics.
When Hester’s new oncologist informed her that she had been misdiagnosed and did not suffer from MDS, Hester wondered how Fata could do that to her and her family–or to anyone.
Attorneys Jesse Reiter, Rebecca Walsh and Jenni Secorski of Reiter & Walsh ABC Law Centers are representing Hester in her civil lawsuit against Fata. Reiter and Secorski told Fox News reporter Randy Wimbley that they will not wait to find out what the long term physical and financial costs of unneeded treatments are.
The Case Against Fata
In addition to misdiagnosing people with cancer, Fata is accused of giving unneeded chemotherapy to patients, including those who were in remission. Fata also delayed hospital treatment for very sick patients so they would use his clinical services first. At least one of Fata’s patients died as a result of this delay.
Items listed on the federal criminal complaint against Fata include the following:
- Administration of unnecessary chemotherapy to patients in remission and to end-of life patients who would not have benefited from the treatment;
- Unnecessary treatment and testing of patients who were deliberately misdiagnosed as having cancer for these purposes;
- 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 investigation led to a raid of Fata’s home and the multiple facilities in which he practices, called Michigan Hematology Oncology Centers, located in Troy, Bloomfield Hills, Sterling Heights, Lapeer, Clarkston and Oak Park.
Fata’s medical activities and criminal charges have been profiled on national news and have been shocking people all over the country. His centers billed Medicare $35 million over a 2 year period of this healthcare fraud scheme.
Medical personnel who worked with 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 the hospital, and he had interns treating an extremely large number of patients. A registered nurse testified that there were cases in which Fata would continue to treat patients who had gone into remission with an unneeded “maintenance dose” of chemotherapy.
A member of Fata’s staff told reporters that Dr. Fata asked her to falsify records and delay scans for patients at other facilities so the scans could be performed and billed at his clinics.
“Dr. Fata allegedly perpetrated a brazen and dangerous fraud that time and again jeopardized his patients’ well-being,” 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.”
Patients of Dr. Fata have been advised by authorities to get second opinions regarding any health conditions that Fata diagnosed and/or treated.
Help For Patients Treated By Farid 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]