Last time, we spoke about the conviction of former hematologist and oncologist Farid Fata in Michigan for defrauding patients. As we noted, Fata is facing potential civil liability for his misdeeds, but plaintiffs do face challenges in seeking relief from the disgraced doctor.
For one thing, the medical field is not as transparent as it should be when it comes to disclosing problem physicians. Here in Michigan, for example, entities which conduct reviews of a medical care are not allowed to disclose to the public the identity of those involved in the investigation. This makes it harder for plaintiffs to identity negligence by individual physicians.
In Fata’s case, as we mentioned, there were allegations back in 2010 that he was dealing wrongly with his patients, but this fact was not known to any of his patients or other members of the public. As a result of state law, it is difficult to track down patterns of negligence because of the protections built into the system. In other words, gathering the evidence necessary to prove Fata violated standards of medical care may be difficult for patients.
Another challenge, or rather limitation, is that former patients of Fatid don’t actually have that much money available to them due to medical malpractice caps. At present, Michigan law caps noneconomic damages at $450,000 such as pain and suffering. This is unfortunate, because although economic damages are unlimited, not all patients who are harmed by a physician will be adequately compensated by economic damages alone.
Despite these limitations, it is hoped that patients seeking relief from the former physician will meet with success. Any patient who suffers that kind of harm from a physician deserves to be fully compensated for injuries and other damages.