When you go to the hospital or visit a doctor nowadays, it can feel like a prison cell. How is a person supposed to evaluate the necessity or risks of a certain treatment, in the heat of the moment when somebody needs medical attention? It’s an ever-present paradox, any time a person’s health is in danger.
This is the type of reason why the story of Dr. Farid Fata is forever relevant, the mastermind of one of the largest medical frauds in American history. He was a hematologist/oncologist and owner of the Michigan Hematology-Oncology (MHO), which was one of Michigan’s largest cancer practices. He operated several upscale clinics in Eastern Michigan, abusing the trust of countless victims.
Well over 500 of his patients were falsely diagnosed with cancer by the doctor, and they were given extremely dangerous drugs that took lives, destroyed bodily function, and harmed countless people. The extent of his lies were deeper than a pathological liar’s worst nightmare, as he eventually plead guilty to convincing patients of all kinds of things, from the lie that they had cancer, to having a different form of cancer than they actually had.
By 2013, he was arrested on charges of prescribing dangerous chemotherapy drugs and treatments to patients who either didn’t have cancer, or even people who weren’t remotely ill. Then, as part of his scheme, he proceeded to cash in by submitting a total of $34 million in fraudulent charges to both Medicare and private health insurance corporations, stacking up an inconceivable lie upon lie, check upon check for at least six years.
Fata lived in a “sprawling mansion” in the Oakland Township area of Michigan, and he ran seven upscale medical centers across Eastern Michigan.
An example of one of his victims was Robert Sobieray, a disabled auto worker who was falsely diagnosed by Fata with a rare blood cancer. He was urged to get monthly infusions of highly toxic chemotherapy, and three weeks of radiation, extremely expensive and damaging treatments that were for a disease he obviously didn’t even remotely have.
As a consequence, he suffered from uncontrollable body twitches, and his teeth fell out. “I have so much hatred towards Fata. His name causes an instant headache,” said Sobieray, age 62.
“He gets my stomach turning. It is hard to explain…the things I want to do to that guy I couldn’t say in public. I hope he gets life.”
This wasn’t the worst of what the doctor was responsible for: countless lives were were lost, and the consequences are complex for all the different people who were victimized.
Prosecutors were seeking an 175 year sentence for the doctor who certainly qualifies as a psychopath, but on July 10, 2015 after pleading guilty to several charges, he was only sentenced to 45 years in prison, with the possibility of getting out earlier if he has “good behavior.”
This led to a lot of outrage: imagine how many outraged family members over 500 victims would total. What exactly does “good behavior” mean for a 53 year old Lebanese doctor in the penitentiary? Not causing a riot?
Realistically a 45 year sentence for a man in his 50’s is a life sentence, but considering the way people of wealth and influence miraculously escape the death grip of the judicial system, it’s shady just for them to say he could get out earlier with “good behavior.”
At least 553 people received unnecessary treatment, totaling 9,000 “injections of infusions” of who knows what. NBC News for example will say that those injections “cost insurance companies and patients millions,” but where’s the mention of who profited from this, at a higher level than Fata?
People who psychopathic tendencies, or the audacity to pathologically lie and harm so many people with no conscience tend to gravitate toward positions of corporate power, just as much as any other position of power.