When we talk about medical malpractice on this blog and in general, we are very often speaking about decent doctors who, for one reason or another, had a lapse of judgment and made a mistake that ended up harming a patient. In some medical malpractice cases, a doctor may have a history of violations due to lack of skill or carelessness, but generally mean well toward his patients.
Then there are those cases where the doctor is just a bad egg. That would be the case with Dr. Farid Fata, former hematologist and oncologist who was sentenced to 45 years of imprisonment earlier this month for health care fraud. Farid was convicted last fall after pleading guilty or no contest to a total of 23 counts of health care fraud, conspiracy to pay and receive kickbacks, and money laundering.
As part of the evidence against Fata, prosecutors obtained documentation that he intentionally prescribed thousands of unnecessary injections and infusions to hundreds of patients, lied to patients about their cancer prognoses, and provided unnecessary chemotherapy. Fata has been called by federal prosecutors “the most egregious fraudster in the history of this country,” which is saying a lot.
The fraud investigation against Fata broke when a nurse with years of experience in oncology interviewed with Fata back in 2010 and noticed that something wasn’t quite right in the care he was providing. She later reported to the Bureau of Health Professions, which ended dismissing her accusations. Fortunately, though, the doctor’s wrongdoing was eventually recognized for what it was and he was charged.
In our next post, we’ll continue speaking about this case and the challenges some of Fata’s patients are facing in seeking compensation for his fraudulent and unethical care.